Small Business Growth Initiative - For Applicants



LCCF is concentrating on the growth of our local communities and building strong economies for the future through our Small Business Growth Initiative (SBGI), which collaboratively supports small businesses owned by people of color in historically disinvested communities. This program concentrates on Waukegan (60085) with plans to expand to other communities.

At LCCF, we believe now is the time to collectively invest in communities that have long been ignored and discounted by larger systems. We know that by investing in small businesses owned by people of color, we are generating wealth for generations to come and creating access and opportunities for communities to thrive.

LCCF is working with partners to build this comprehensive program that will ultimately result in a network of support for small businesses owned by people of color.

How It Works:

We take a data-driven approach to working alongside small business owners to help them meet their specific growth goals, while enriching the surrounding economic and social landscape.

  1. Small business application process
  2. One-year grant up to $30,000 from LCCF
  3. Wrap-around resources, referrals and technical assistance based on desired growth areas
  4. Educational workshops and peer-to-peer cohorts
  5. Collaboration for long-term, sustainable growth

Partners: (Pilot Partner) Drip & Culture, Waukegan; Allies for Community Business; College of Lake County’s Small Business Development & International Trade Center; Lake County Partners, City of Waukegan

Interested in Applying for an SBGI grant?


***The next application cycle will open in Fall 2022.

Small Business Eligibility:

  • Located within 60085
  • Business owner(s) must identify as a person of color.
  • Current and in good standing with the IRS
  • Project requests of up to $40,000 will be considered. Eligible projects must be designed to further the long-term sustainability of the business. Examples include but are not limited to specific capital investments or improvements that will enable the business to increase revenue and promote sustainability, business expansion projects (build out of a new space, outdoor seating area, etc.), and more.
  • Business must generate $50,000-$150,000 in revenue annually (or projected to)
  • A commitment to participating in the technical assistance component of the SBGI program based on specific business growth opportunities as identified in the SBGI growth assessment.
  • Business owners must commit to spending a mutually agreed upon amount of time with program partners to fully scope out the project deliverables and outcomes.
  • Project must align with LCCF’s organizational and program values.

SBGI Criteria for Selection

Program Values:

  • Community engagement
  • Community collaboration
  • Community betterment
  • Innovation

Examples of what this looks like (not limited to):

  • Events to bring community together
  • Collaborating and/or partnering with other small businesses in your community
  • Partnerships/fundraisers for local nonprofits or community-led efforts
  • A new concept and/or fulfilling a need for your community

Keep in Touch!


Subscribe to our Small Business Newsletter to stay connected and up-to-date on the program and grant opportunities.

Small Business Newsletter

SBGI Task Force


  • Adam Carson, Drip & Culture Co.
  • Brad McConnell, Allies for Community Business
  • Courtney Combs, LCCF
  • Nadine Johnson, Old National Bank
  • Topiltzin Gomez, Honeycomb Credit

Thank you to our 2023 SBGI Funding Partners!



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