Uptown Business Center

The Uptown Business Center (UBC) is managed by Uptown United, and aims to support new and existing Chicago-based business owners with licensing, permitting, and additional specialized business assistance in collaboration with the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), local Chambers, and community partners.

In total, there are 8 community  Chicago Business Centers located throughout the city. Visit chicago.gov/cbc or click here for more information.

Who does the Uptown Business Center help?

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.

How do I get help from the Uptown Business Center?

Current and aspiring business owners: Click here to schedule a consulting session. Or contact our Business Center Manager, Heather, at heather@nullexploreuptown.org or call us at 773.878.1064. (Due to COVID-19, our office is currently closed to the public, so please, no walk-ins.)

Upcoming Business Center Events

  • Wednesday, August 4, “City Inspections – Ask Questions, Get Answers” | Click here to Register
    Presented by the City of Chicago
    The Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection, Department of Public Health, and the Department of Buildings will provide insight on how operate a compliant business in the City of Chicago.  Topics covered will include how to prepare for inspections,  building permits and sign display requirements, food inspection overview and necessary certificates, and zoning review procedures.  Learn how to operate safely and avoid common setbacks.
  • August 6 – 15, Uptown Art Week | Click here for Event Information
    The 2nd Annual Uptown Art Week will feature over 150 pieces of public art including more than 40 new works going up on walls around the neighborhood, art exhibits being hosted by local businesses, live paintings, and interactive art activities for all ages.Click here for all BACP Business Education Workshop Webinars

Past Business Center Events

  • 5/5 Info Session with Sunshine Enterprises | Click here for Info
    Presented by Sunshine Enterprises in partnership with the Uptown Business Center
    Sunshine Enterprises is a NFP organization that aims to equip entrepreneurs in under-resourced communities with the skills and tools needed to start, grow, and sustain their business. They offer a 12-week program, followed by a lifelong support system from coaches, mentors, and alumni.
  • 4/29 Webinar with G&G Law, “Business Entity and Startup Formation” 
    Presented by G&G Law in partnership with the Uptown Business Center
    Are you considering starting a business in Illinois? During this webinar with G & G Law, we introduce you to some basic startup steps, review the legal entities recommended for startups, and look at what else you need to help your business grow. Watch the recording below.

What’s the difference between the Uptown Business Center and Uptown United & Uptown Chamber of Commerce?

The Uptown Business Center is another layer of support, it focuses specifically on business licensing, business permitting, and financial assistance while also sharing city-wide Business Center programming.

Business Centers often overlap Chamber services, with Chambers offering more extensive business resources and support. We highly encourage all small businesses to become a member of their local Chamber of Commerce. Below is a breakdown of the Uptown Business Center vs. Chamber of Commerce.

Uptown Business Center

Uptown Chamber of Commerce

City Licensing support
City Permitting support
Financing Assistance and Resourcing
Professional services, sector-specific guidance
Supporting New Economies
Assistance recruiting skilled labor
Neighborhood specific support
SBIF, SSA rebate program support
Permitting and zoning
Business education programming
Business site selection
Networking events
Members-only LinkedIn Group
Neighborhood Guide
Website listing
Email newsletter marketing
Social Media
Street-pole Banner
Ribbon cuttings
Event sponsorship
Business and community events

All Chicago Business Centers

Calumet Area Industrial Commission 
Allies for Community Business
Puerto Rican Cultural Center
Greater Southwest Development Corporation
North River Commission
Austin African American Business Networking Association
Quad Cities Development Corporation
Uptown United

Partner Chambers of Commerce and Business Support Organizations

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 community partners:
Rogers Park Business Alliance
Edgewater Chamber of Commerce
Andersonville Chamber of Commerce
Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce
West Ridge Chamber of Commerce
Lincoln Bend Chamber of Commerce
Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce
Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce
Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce
Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce
North Center Chamber of Commerce
Small Business Development Center at the Chinese Mutual Aid Association

Partner Ward Offices:

40th Ward – Alderman Andre Vasquez
43rd Ward – Alderwoman Michele Smith
44th Ward – Alderman Tom Tunney
46th Ward – Alderman James Cappleman
47th Ward – Alderman Matt Martin
48th Ward – Alderman Harry Osterman
49th Ward – Alderwoman Maria Hadden
50th Ward – Alderwoman Debra Silverstein