Steps to Building your Business in Illinois

STEP ONE: GET CERTIFIED: Certification provides greater access to state business

The State has made a commitment to increasing opportunities for small or minority-owned businesses, which it takes into account when awarding contracts. However, in order to be eligible, businesses must be certified. POWER works with entrepreneurs to complete the certification process and addresses any questions or problems that arise along the way.

Specifically, program participants have access to a POWER certification guide, certification workshops, and ongoing counsel from experts who know the process. Once complete, businesses will be registered on the state’s Procurement Bulletin Board and receive ongoing counsel from POWER on state bid opportunities.


STEP TWO: LEARN TO COMPETE: Mentoring opportunities deliver invaluable insight

By enrolling in POWER, business owners can enhance their professional knowledge and develop key working relationships with like-minded companies. In fact, the program’s partnership with SCORE Chicago opens the door for participants to attend various workshops and form relationships with executives who know what it takes to succeed.

Business development workshop options include:

  • Accounting and Risk Management: Tracking and Protecting your Assets
  • Business Plan: A Roadmap to You (necessary if you want to apply for a loan)
  • How to Start a Business and Succeed
  • Get Financing: Learn Sources and Ways to Impress your Banker
  • Financials: Mastering Cash Flows and Profits


Beyond those opportunities, POWER participants have access to free personalized, comprehensive counseling from SCORE advisors who can address everything from business concepts and management to applying for loans and developing a business plan. With more than 25 locations in the Chicago area and multiple chapters throughout the state, SCORE resources are never far away.



STEP THREE: MOVE FORWARD TOGETHER: Ongoing support provided by Comptroller

POWER serves as an ongoing resource for small and minority-owned businesses, and regular communication is critical for its success. To that end, the Comptroller’s Office continues its relationship with businesses well after they’re on the road to competing for state contracts.

The relationship ensures that business owners receive personalized attention and that help is never more than a phone call away. Ongoing resources provided by the Comptroller’s Office include:

  • Quarterly follow-up meetings with staff to address questions, concerns and upcoming contract opportunities
  • Participation in an annual small business luncheon with Comptroller Mendoza