The ICNC or Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago’s mission is “to strengthen companies in the Kinzie Industrial Corridor and to facilitate economic and community development“
ICNC fulfills this mission through its two major functions:
1. As an Industrial Council, it provides services to strengthen the 2,000+ companies on Chicago’s Nearwest side.
2. As one of the world’s largest incubators, it provides space and business development services to 110+ tenants in its 410,000 SF facility
ICNC advocates for the interest of business on Chicago’s Nearwest Side. ICNC strengthens both start-up & emerging companies by providing business development assistance as well as information and links to public and private resources and services. ICNC, an employer-driven organization develops programs and services in response to the needs of the companies it represents.
In addition to the $2.5 million a year in revenue from its incubator (operated by ICNC and its 501 (c)(3) affiliate, the Kinzie Industrial Development Corp or KIDC), ICNC receives over $700,000 a year in funding comes from government and foundation grants – positioning it to offer extensive no-cost services to local companies and tenants. Today, ICNC is comprised of over 400 member companies and represents the Nearwest Side’s rapidly growing business community, comprised of over 2,000 small businesses. Select programs include:
Small Business Development Center (SBDC):
- One-on-one business consultation in areas of finance, marketing, management, research and more
- Assistance with the business plan development and business expansion
- Help with accessing market information and developing marketing plans
- Access to national database of companies
- Advice on securing a grant, bank loan or equity investment
- Expertise in financial analysis and planning
- Access to business education and training opportunities
- Loans of up to $12,500 through ICNC’s Revolving Loan Fund
International Trade Center (ITC)
- One-on-one counseling in all phases of exporting
- Access to export readiness and foreign market potential for new-to-export firms
- Expertise and assistance in all phases of exporting
- Educational seminars on international trade and NAFTA issues.
- Evaluation of key overseas opportunities and identification of buyers, agents & distributors
- Trade reference material for potential exporters
- Financial assistance for export ventures
- Service as a local liaison to the ITO and other government export resources.
Computer Center & No-Cost Instruction
ICNC’s on-site computer training center provides access to computers, telecommunications technologies
and related training for area businesses and residents. No-cost computer classes are offered three or more times per week in such programs as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, QuickBooks, Photoshop and more.
Subsidized Training – Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP)
ETIP supports Illinois workers’ efforts to upgrade their skills in order to remain current in new technologies and business practices, enabling companies to remain competitive, expand into new markets and introduce more efficient technologies into their operations. ETIP grants reimburse eligible companies up to 50 percent of the cost of training their employees.
Local Industrial Retention Initiative (LIRI)
LIRI is the City of Chicago’s primary vehicle for providing economic development services to small commercial and manufacturing companies in Chicago. Working closely with Chicago’s Department of Housing and Economic Development, of Planning and Development, ICNC staff links companies in the Kinzie Corridor to services and resources provided by the City.
ICNC advocates for business interests in the Kinzie Corridor including business friendly zoning, enhanced transportation, streamlined regulation, increased police presence, lower taxes, access to City decision makers and more.
Incubator Space & Services
ICNC owns and manages the 410,000 SF Fulton-Carroll Center incubator, home to 110+ small business tenants, who enjoy below-market rent, business support, services and a vibrant business community.
Recent Awards – ICNC
- “Outstanding Vision Award”, 2009, Superior Ambulance
- “Most Small Business Development Counseling Hours in IL Award”, 2008, IL DCEO
- “Innovation Award”, Small Business Development, 2007, ISBGDA
- “Program Excellence Award”, 2006, ISBGDA
- “Incubator of the Year”, 2006, National Business Incubator Association
- “Community Partnership Award”, 2005, 13th District Police
- “Green Communities Demonstration Program Award”, 2004, IEPA
- “Quality Job Development Award”, 2003, Community Workforce Employment Council
- “Community-Building Award”, 2003, Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards/LISC
A group of business owners came together in 1967 to address the deteriorating economic and social conditions on the Near West Side, namely crime and garbage pick-up. ICNC was created out of this need to join together and protect the interests of business and continues that work today.
ICNC strengthened its role as a business advocate in the 1970′s and 80′s. In 1980 it received a grant to purchase several large industrial buildings which enabled it to start one of the first (and largest) business incubators in the country. Soon thereafter, a new 501(c)(3) organization was formed, the Kinzie Industrial Development Corp (KIDC) in an effort to expand and broaden the group’s economic development mission (KIDC operates under the same board, management and staff structure as ICNC). Key developments in ICNC’s history include:
1980 & 1984 - Development of Fulton-Carroll Center (FCC) – several buildings were granted to ICNC in 1980 and to later in 1984 to KIDC (see above) from the US Department of Commerce. ICNC’s 410,000 square-foot business incubator houses over 110 tenants and provides no-cost business development services to tenants and area companies. In 2006, FCC was awarded “Incubator of the Year” by the National Business Incubator Association.
1984 - Formation of Kinzie Industrial Development Corporation (KIDC) – formed in 1984 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) partner to ICNC, KIDC shares ICNC’s mission of enhancing economic and community development focused on providing economic development assistance to the larger Near West side community
1998 – Planned Manufacturing District (PMD) – created by the City of Chicago as a means of ensuring that businesses/jobs are not pushed out of the area by either residential or retail, both of which are prohibited in the PMD.
1998 – Tax Increment Financing (TIF) – designated for the purpose of investing local tax money back into the area. TIF provides millions of dollars for infrastructure improvements and training to Kinzie Corridor companies and projects which benefit the community.