Nicor foundation to award $1 million in small business loans

NAPERVILLE - Northern Illinois Community Initiatives, a foundation created by Nicor Gas, announced a new economic development program to help small business startups and businesses owned by women and minority entrepreneurs.

The Northern Illinois Community Ventures program will help those business access the capital and technical support they need to grow and thrive, Nicor said.

In partnership with Allies for Community Business, a community development financial institution based in Chicago, NICV will invest $1 million in funding - $250,000 a year over the next four years - in target communities of south suburban Cook County, Joliet and Rockford. A4CB will conduct outreach to business owners and encourage those who qualify to apply for a loan.

"Small businesses are the bedrock of our state's economy. However, since the pandemic, those owned by women, Black, Latino and Asian entrepreneurs have faced unique challenges accessing capital as lending rates have climbed," said Wendell Dallas, Nicor Gas president and CEO, and chair of the NICI board of directors. "For many of them, a small business loan could mean the difference between going to the next level or going out of business."

Eligible residents can apply for a loan or request to meet with a business coach at

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.