Uptown Business Center

Connect with the Uptown Business Center’s Free Business Services for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses!

The Uptown Business Center (UBC) is managed by  Uptown United, and 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!  

Sign up for a free UBC Business Consultation today for a wide range of free services including:  

  • Licensing Assistance: choosing and applying for the best license for your business, meeting zoning requirements, securing a liquor license, and more. 
  • Permitting Assistance: applying for and renewing sidewalk cafes, sign permits etc.  
  • Funding Resources: locating traditional and non-traditional financial resources including webinars, connections to local institutions, and the latest local and federal grant/loan information. 
  • Sector-Specific Support: industry events, trainings, webinars, networking opportunities. 
  • Connecting with your local Chamber of Commerce for additional support in marketing, neighborhood events, networking, and more.   

Consultations are provided virtually, by phone, or in person based on your preference. Learn more about how the UBC can support you by signing up for a free UBC Business Consultation, emailing ubc@nullexploreuptown.org, or calling 773-878-1064.

Summer Spotlight: Sidewalk Café Season!

As the weather warms up, many small businesses are looking to apply for or renew sidewalk café permits. All permitting is done online on the City of Chicago’s Inspections, Permitting & Licensing web portal. You can view a summary of the process and requirements on the City’s Obtaining a Sidewalk Cafe Permit webpage.

NEW! The City Council passed an ordinance that continues the outdoor dining policies created during the COVID-19 pandemic. This means businesses will be able to serve diners in expanded sidewalk cafes (including the area in front of neighboring businesses), in nearby curb lanes and parking lots, and apply to close streets for outdoor dining if three or more food businesses apply together as they were allowed to do in 2022. Taverns and bars can apply for outdoor dining permits when partnering with restaurants so food is available for customers. Schedule a UBC Consultation for support applying for sidewalk cafes or any of these extended measures.

Schedule a UBC Consultation for free support with the sidewalk café process, including:

  • Deciding if a sidewalk café is right for your business
  • Creating an online profile for your permit
  • Gathering required documents for the application
  • Drawing a site plan for your future sidewalk café

Upcoming Business Resource Events

Money Smart: “Banking Services” 
Thursday, June 29th | 1-2PM | Northcenter Chamber of Commerce, 4054 N Lincoln Ave
Join the Uptown Business Center and Wintrust Bank Uptown at the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce for a free training as part of the Money Smart Program: “Banking Services.” This training will cover ways to improve your chances of getting a loan and business banking fundamentals.
Register for This FREE Event

Commercial Real Estate 101
Friday, June 30th | 1-3PM | 4234 N Broadway
Join Uptown Business Center, IRPINO Real Estate, and Gilbert Law Group for a free event for entrepreneurs and small businesses all about commercial real estate.
Register for This FREE Event

Money Smart: “Record Keeping”
Thursday, July 27th | 1-2PM | Rizal Community Center, 1332 W Irving Park Rd
Join the Uptown Business Center and Wintrust Bank Uptown at the Rizal Community 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.

Registration coming soon!

Uptown Business Center Partners

In total, there are 8 community Chicago Business Centers located throughout the city. Services are free. Visit chicago.gov/cbc or click here for more information. The UBC provides assistance with licensing, permitting, and additional specialized business services in collaboration with the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), local Chambers, and community partners.

Within the map of Lake Shore Drive to the Chicago River, and North-South boundaries of Lincoln Park to Rogers Park, the Uptown Business Center works collaboratively with the following partners:

Chicago Business Centers Partner Chambers of Commerce and Business Support Organizations Aldermanic Offices
Calumet Area Industrial Commission  Uptown Chamber of Commerce Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce 2nd Ward – Alderman Brian Hopkins 49th Ward – Alderwoman Maria Hadden
Allies for Community Business Rogers Park Business Alliance Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce 32nd Ward – Alderman Scott Waguespack 50th Ward – Alderwoman Debra Silverstein
Puerto Rican Cultural Center Edgewater Chamber of Commerce North Center Chamber of Commerce 40th Ward – Alderman Andre Vasquez
Greater Southwest Development Corporation Andersonville Chamber of Commerce Small Business Development Center at the Chinese Mutual Aid Association 43rd Ward – Alderman Timmy Knudsen
North River Commission Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce Northalsted Business Alliance 44th Ward – Alderman Tom Tunney
Austin African American Business Networking Association West Ridge Chamber of Commerce 46th Ward – Alderman James Cappleman
Quad Cities Development Corporation Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce 47th Ward – Alderman Matt Martin
Uptown Business Center (managed by Uptown United) Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce 48th Ward – Alderman Harry Osterman