Direct Lending Program

Direct Lending Program

The WBDC knows that access to capital is critical for small business success. In order to provide this important resource, the WBDC became certified as a lender by the Chicago Microlending Institute (CMI).

Loans are available for new and existing small businesses in the state of Illinois and targeted towards businesses operation in low to moderate income communities. Business, including start-ups, may be eligible regardless of time in business, or size of business.

Loan Information

  • Loans from $1,000 to $75,000
  • Allowed for working capital, leasehold improvements, inventory, supplies, and machinery or equipment purchases
  • Not allowed for real estate development, not-for-profit organizations, lending, multi-level marketing, and “sin” businesses (e.g. liquor businesses, massage parlors, gambling, firearms, pornography, etc.)
  • Interest rates from 8% to 18%
  • Terms up to 5 years
  • No application fee and no pre-payment penalties
  • No minimum credit score

Eligibility Checklist

If you are seeking financing, read the eligibility checklist below and submit your application today.

  1. Do you operate or plan to operate your business in the state of Illinois?
  2. Is your business in an industry that does not involve real estate development, multi-level marketing, liquor retail, massage parlors, gambling, firearms, pornography, or lending?
  3. If your business is a startup, do you have an alternate source of income?
  4. Have you invested savings or personal equity in your business?
  5. Are you current on all personal and business bills? If not, is there a payment arrangement in place?
  6. Are you prepared to offer collateral for the loan?
  7. Are you and your business free of active bankruptcies, outstanding tax liens, and delinquent child support?
  8. Are you over 21 years of age? Applicants over 18 may still be eligible but will need a cosigner.
  9. Do you have a formal or informal business plan?
  10. Do you have a license to operate a business?

If you answered “yes” to the 10 questions above, you may be eligible for a loan through the WBDC Direct Lending Program.

To apply, please download and complete the WBDC Direct Loan Application. Email your completed application to A loan officer will contact you to discuss your application.


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