Hello Uptown Business Center Clients and Partners,

Summer is in full swing and the UBC continues to provide free programming and support for your small businesses! Make sure you check out our upcoming free event on Record Keeping with Wintrust Bank at the Rizal Center on July 27th (Register Here). It isn't too late to apply for a sidewalk café or to apply for a café extension under the new expanded outdoor dining regulations passed by the City Council in May. More information on both is below.

As always, please don't hesitate to Schedule a UBC Consultation if there are other ways the UBC can support you! Looking forward to seeing some of you on July 27th at the Rizal Center.


Kylie Ruscheinski
Uptown Business Center Director
Money Smart: “Record Keeping”
Thursday, July 27th | 1-2PM | Rizal Center, 1332 W Irving Park Rd
Join the Uptown Business Center and Wintrust Bank Uptown at the Rizal Center at 1332 W Irving Park Rd for a free training as part of the Money Smart Program: “Record Keeping.” This training will cover the basics of record keeping, including best practices and software products for small business record keeping.
The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance to extend the outdoor dining policies created during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these changes might be beneficial for your business!

What is the cost for sidewalk cafés?
Sidewalk café prices remain the same, starting at $600 and increasing based on the total size of your café. You will be prompted for payment once the city approves your application.

Can my sidewalk café extend over the neighboring business/storefront?
Yes! Businesses are able to serve diners in expanded sidewalk cafés that extend in front of a neighboring business as long as it is not an active retail food establishment or retail liquor establishment. This is the same extension that was permitted during the COVID-19 pandemic. If extending along the building side of the sidewalk, applicants must submit proof that they have notified the owner and occupant of the neighboring property in writing that they intend to submit a permit application that extends in front of their property.

What if I have an existing sidewalk café but want to take advantage of the extension options to expand into the neighboring businesses sidewalk?
Businesses that wish to extend their sidewalk café must reapply for the permit with the full address range of their café, including the neighboring property. The business will only be charged an additional fee for the additional square footage added to the original café application.

Are taverns able to get sidewalk café permits again?
Yes! Any business with a valid retail food establishment license or tavern license is able to apply for a sidewalk café permit.

Can I serve alcohol at my sidewalk café?
Businesses with a valid liquor license may serve alcohol at their sidewalk café.

How do I apply for a sidewalk café permit?
Apply for your permit online on the BACP permit portal. Make sure to include the full address range if your permit will extend beyond your property line.

Schedule a UBC Consultation for support with your sidewalk café application. 
Fund Your Start-Up Into a Real Business
Wednesday, July 19th | 3-4PM | Webinar
This free BACP (Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection) Webinar will cover start-up costs, micro lenders, family & friends, donation funding, and angel investing.

How to Start Selling in Amazon's Store
Wednesday, July 26th | 12-1PM | Webinar
Presented by SCORE and Amazon, learn if you're ready to sell in Amazon's store and how to get started with this free webinar.
Bank of America Small Business Down Payment Program
This grant is connected to SBA owner occupied commercial real estate loans for women and minority-owned businesses.
Deadline: Rolling Basis
  • Self-identify as a minority or women-owned business (representing at least 51% ownership of the business)
  • Purchasing owner-occupied commercial real estate via Bank of America SBA solutions

High Road Kitchens
This grant is from One Fair Wage and the City of Chicago and offers grants between $10,000 and $30,000 to Chicago Restaurants.
Deadline: Rolling Basis
  • Restaurant located in Chicago
  • Annual revenue of under $3 million
  • Experienced financial loss due to COVID-19 totaling 25% or annual revenue

Schedule a UBC Consultation for support with your grant application or to discuss additional resources for your small business.
The Uptown Business Center (UBC) is managed by Uptown United and, in collaboration with the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), supports new and existing business owners and entrepreneurs within the East-West boundaries of Lake Shore Drive to the Chicago River, and North-South boundaries of Lincoln Park to Rogers Park. Whether you’re in the idea stage of your business or a long-standing business owner, the UBC provides a suite of free business services! Learn more at exploreuptown.org/ubc.

Stay in Touch!
Connect with the UBC to learn more about how our free services can support you and your small business: