Supporting and advancing Illinois entrepreneurship,
innovation, and economic development

Small Business Assistance

Free small business assistance is available for qualified entrepreneurs, businesses, and business start-ups in the state of Illinois. Clients apply through a competitive application process, and a team of student specialists provide free services for projects that are accepted.

Eligibility, Guidelines, and Application

Support Applying for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Funding

Federal agencies set aside a portion of their extramural research & development budget to be awarded as grants to small businesses. Thanks to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, innovators and entrepreneurs have opportunities to apply and receive anywhere from $150,000 to $1 million in capital to determine a technology’s feasibility and to develop a prototype. As long as they meet the terms of the funding, award recipients do not have to repay the government and they retain full ownership of their company. Qualified small businesses and entrepreneurs affiliated with IUIN incubators can receive free support, guidance, and training to help them search for federal agency solicitations and to prepare and submit proposals.

Types of Support, Eligibility, Guidelines, and Application

Entrepreneurship Training for Faculty and Students

National Science Foundation's (NSF) Innovation Corps or I-Corps is a public-private partnership program that teaches university faculty and student entrepreneurs how to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from academic research, and provides entrepreneurship training to participants.

The following IUIN locations offer I-Corps programs:

I-Corps workshops are periodically offered at other IUIN locations. Check our events calendar or join our email list to stay informed about dates and details of workshop and training events.

For more information about the NSF Innovation (I-Corps) program, visit https://www.nsf.gov/i-corps.