Business Assistance Programs


  Justine Petersen Microloan Program

The Office of Planning and Economic Development houses a microlending program for small businesses. The program debuted in September 2015 with $1.7 million in start-up capital from local financial institutions and Community Development Block Grant Funds. The fund is facilitated by Justine Petersen, the largest SBA micro lender in the U.S., and provides comprehensive micro-enterprise lending and training to small and start-up businesses including: one-on-one counseling and technical assistance; credit building strategies; group financial capability classes; a business plan questionnaire to assist clients through the business planning process; micro-loan origination; and post-loan technical assistance for those that struggle to meet their business plan benchmarks and for those that are expanding their businesses. For more information about our Microloan Program, please contact Lashonda Fitch. For more information about all of Justine Petersen’s services, click here.

Since the loan fund began, more than 77 loans have been originated, totaling $694,798.93.

To apply for the microloan, you will need to complete the application, provide the following supporting documentation, and contact Lashonda Fitch to schedule an appointment. The application and supporting documents listed below should be completed in full before scheduling an appointment with Lashonda Fitch, but please feel free to contact her at 217.789.2377 with any questions.

Click here  to access the application.

Supporting Documentation:

  Community Development Block Grant Opportunities for Businesses and Non-Profit Organizations

The City of Springfield uses a portion of its CDBG funds to increase citywide economic opportunities by providing financial assistance to For-Profit Organizations. This is done to encourage new businesses to grow and help existing businesses expand. Low-interest loans or grants may be awarded to qualifying businesses that will create permanent jobs, which will be made available to or taken by low to moderate income persons.

Other City CDBG funds are used to fund the correction of building code deficiencies to mitigate environmental hazards in public facilities owned by Non-Profit Organizations that offer services to low to moderate income persons. This is done to improve public infrastructure and facilities.

Additional City CDBG funds within our current five-year plan are used to support Non-Profit Agencies and Organizations that primarily serve homeless, non-homeless special needs populations, and other low to moderate income populations to increase the scope and quality of their services.

To learn more about CBDG funds, please contact the Office of Planning and Economic Development at info@OPED.springfield.il.us or 217.789.2377

  Energy Assistance Programs

City Water Light and Power (CWLP), Springfield's city-owned electric and water utility, is known as a low cost energy provider with a record of reliability. Its reliability is among the best in the nation. Outages and interruptions in Springfield occur at half the rate of the national average.

The city owns its electric generation and water treatment plants and produces enough of both commodities to meet all the needs of the community - with room to grow. At the same time, CWLP's exceptional service is enhanced by its low cost. Residential customers enjoy among the lowest electric rates in the nation and both residential and commercial customers pay among the lowest water rates in Illinois.

CWLP also maintains a network of more than 100 miles of installed fiber optic cable. Commercial customers can tap into the bandwidth, which provides communication speeds in excess of one billion bits per second, and that offers such capabilities as high-speed data transfer, e-commerce, distance learning, interactive education, tele-medicine, security, and high speed Internet connections.

CWLP offers several programs to assist with the expansion and relocation of companies and to help businesses become more efficient. To learn more about these programs and how they might benefit you, click here.