Supporting Local Real Estate Entrepreneurs through the Community Business Academy

A recent study by Loyola University and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce found that 77% of small businesses in Illinois plan to expand in the next year. However, close to half (48%) of these owners cite business planning and two-thirds cite access to capital as their primary needs in order to expand. 

Local multifamily property owners and managers are an integral part of any neighborhood's small business community, and their ability to increase the quality and capacity of their services not only benefits their businesses but their tenants and the larger community.

Enter CIC's Community Business Academy (CBA), a collaborative initiative with Sunshine Enterprises. Through the CBA, established and aspiring real estate managers and investors are able to g row and strengthen their businesses. The CBA goes beyond the curriculum offered at CIC's longstanding Property Management Training. It focuses on organizational capacity building and financial planning, reducing barriers to business expansion for local owner-operators.

Jessica Sivels (left), CIC's Director of Property Management Training, and recent CBA graduate Freda Madison (right). Ms. Madison owns and manages a small rental portfolio. After completing the CBA she plans to expand with additional  residential and 
commercial units. 

Launched in 2017, the CIC CBA includes twelve weeks of intensive education that covers topics such as personal finance and credit, competitive analyses and target markets, intellectual property, and marketing. Upon successful course completion, CBA graduates can receive one-on-one coaching with Sunshine Enterprises, and gain access to special incentives for CIC loans to help finance their next affordable rental projects.

Jack Markowski (left), CIC President, joins graduates of the Community Business Academy real estate cohort at a graduation and celebration on January 20, 2018 at the AKArama Foundation and Community Services Center. 

In January, CIC and Sunshine Enterprises celebrated the most recent CBA graduates, a cohort of 28 real estate owners and investors. Among the graduates were Chandra and Davon Chomicki, owners of Dream Makers real estate development company. The Chomicki's own a number of two and three-flats in Chicago. They participated in CBA to develop a business growth plan and expand their professional network. 

"CIC and Sunshine Enterprises are helping us achieve our dream." Chandra and Davon Chomicki, CBA graduates and small business owners, offered remarks at the graduation.

CIC's Community Business Academy is made possible through the support of Wells Fargo's Diverse Community Capital Program.  Information on how to apply for the next real estate cohort will be available later this spring.
Upcoming Classes and Workshops

CIC offers its 8-hour Property Management Training as well as single topic sessions at a variety of locations and times throughout the Chicago area. Register below for one of our upcoming classes:

The Basics of Residential Property Management 

Area Date and Time  Location Registration
West Suburbs February 10
9:00am - 5:00pm
Forest Park Village Hall
517 Desplaines Ave.
Forest Park, IL

South February 20-22
6:00pm - 9:00pm
Chicago Theological Seminary
1407 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL

North March 5-8
6:00pm - 9:00pm
Loyola University
1032 W Sheridan Rd.

March 15
8:30am - 5:00pm
SouthWest Organizing Project
2558 W. 63rd St.
Chicago, IL

Single-Topic Workshops

Topic Date and Time Location Registration
Legal Workshop - Evictions
March 1
6:00pm - 8:30pm
South Loop Hotel 
11 W. 26th St
Chicago, IL

CIC's Properties For Sale

In addition to its lending,  training services, and code enforcement efforts, CIC maintains an inventory of properties availa ble for purchase by interested developers.

Often, these prop erties have been previously acquired by Community Initiative's Inc. (CII), an affiliate of CIC, as a result of code violations leading to lien foreclosure or court-ordered condo deconversions. Once secured and stabilized, CIC offers these properties for sale to responsible owners who will complete rehab and provide quality rental housing at  affordable rents. CIC financing is available to rehab these buildings. 

View a list of current properties for sale here

CIC has already approved more than $16 million in loans this fiscal year (October 1 - December 31).

Contact a loan officer today and let us finance your deal.
Recent Deals


A nearly $800,000 rehab loan was approved to finance the complete renovation of a vacant and deteriorated 18-unit apartment building in Roseland. The total loan amount includes $88,000 in energy retrofit financing, and the building is intended to be used for veterans' supportive housing.


An emerging owner-developer was approved for $600,000 to renovate a three story, seven unit brick building. The developer will preserve and thoughtfully restore historical features in this Woodlawn apartment building.


A longtime resident and property owner in the Austin community was approved for $450,000 to purchase a well maintained and fully occupied 10 unit rental building. The buyer brings equity to the project from a cash out refinance of another CIC-financed loan on a property located just a few blocks away, enabling the borrower to expand his portfolio and further stabilize this area of southwest Austin.


Welcome Phillip Moore

We are pleased to welcome Phillip Moore to the CIC te am as a Senior Loan Officer. Phil brings over 15 years of experience in the commercial banking industry to CIC. 

Contact CIC at (312) 258-0070 or  to work with any of CIC's loan officers, who are ready to discuss your acquisition, rehab, and permanent financing needs.

As Chicago's multifamily rehab lender, CIC offers comprehensive and flexible financing options to fit your project needs:
  • Purchase/rehab in the same loan
  • Cash out/Refi loans to expand your portfolio
  • Quick acquisition loans
  • 1-4 unit rental redevelopment loans (for investors)
  • Financing for energy retrofits
  • Competitive rates & terms
That's just the beginning.  Get personalized attention, specialized knowledge from experts in the field, and no-cost training and networking opportunities to make sure you reach your goals.

Contact us today - let's build together .
312.258.0070  |  |

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