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The Greater Freeport Partnership facilitates a wide range of incentives for local businesses. We can help identify and secure federal, state and local resources to achieve your goals. Partnership staff members provide expert support to research state and local economic development incentives and tax credits for which you may be eligible. We’ll help you quantify the value of potential incentives, answer questions about Stephenson County and/or Illinois regulations and policies, and address any issues related to your project.

Downtown Freeport Facade Improvement

The Façade Improvement Grant Program is designed to provide owners of properties financial incentives to preserve, restore, and rehabilitate the exterior features of buildings located within the Downtown Tax Increment Redevelopment (TIF) Area. The grants are provided by the City of Freeport, in partnership with Paint the Port, in recognition of the positive impact that individual facade rehabilitations can have on the overall appearance and quality of storefronts.

The program is announced in February with awards announced in the spring. The 2022 application process and awards have been completed. Please check back in February 2023 for additional information.

Application can be found here.

Northwest Illinois Enterprise Zone

A variety of state and local incentives are available in the Northwest Illinois Enterprise Zone including local property tax abatement for eligible projects. Designated Enterprise Zone Projects may also be eligible for incentives from the state that are customized to meet the unique needs of the business, including tax credits related to employment activity. The Northwest Illinois Enterprise Zone encompasses significant portions of the region’s industrial and business locations.

To see if a property is located within the enterprise zone, click here.

For more information on the Enterprise Zone, click here.

TIF Districts

There are multiple Tax Increment Finance Districts (TIFs) in Freeport and Stephenson County. TIFs provide a means in which communities can financially assist in the development or redevelopment of an area which qualifies for state TIF criteria. Tax increment is the difference in the tax revenue generated before the property is developed or redeveloped and the tax revenue generated after the improvements have been made.

Check to see if your project is in a TIF District. Click the map here. 

Sales Tax Exemptions

Sales tax exemptions on construction materials may be available for eligible projects located within the boundaries of the zone. Approval for the exemption is granted by the Northwest Illinois Enterprise Zone Zone Administrator after submission of the following applications and documented construction materials lists and costs. All forms must be completed in full and must be accompanied by an approved building permit application issued by the City of Freeport or other recognized body and payment of EZ applicable fees.

Project Application & Contractor Application

Foreign Trade Zones

Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs) are designated sites where special customs procedures apply. Foreign trade zones in the United States are comparable to so-called free trade zones in many countries, though procedures vary widely from country to country. Foreign goods may be admitted to an FTZ without being subject to customs duties and certain excise taxes.  The FTZ program is a partnership of the U.S. government and private sector importers. Each approved location is a specially-designated area and considered to be outside of U.S. Customs territory.  For that reason, when cargo arrives in the country for an FTZ operator, it does not immediately clear Customs.  The cargo receives preferential treatment with duties deferred, reduced or eliminated.  In addition, there are supply chain, inventory control and other savings available through the FTZ program.

Economic Development for a Growing Economy Tax Credit (EDGE)

The EDGE program is designed to offer a special tax incentive to encourage companies to locate or expand operations in Illinois when there is active consideration of a competing location in another State. The program can provide tax credits to qualifying companies, equal to the amount of state income taxes withheld from the salaries of employees in the newly created jobs. The non- refundable credits can be used against corporate income taxes to be paid over a period not to exceed 10 years. To qualify a company must provide documentation that attests to the fact of competition among a competing state, and agree to make an investment of at least $5 million in capital improvements and create a minimum of 25 new full time jobs in Illinois. For a company with 100 or fewer employees, the company must agree to make a capital investment of $1million and create at least 5 new full time jobs in Illinois.

High Impact Business (HIB)

The HIB program is designed to encourage large-scale economic development activities, by providing tax incentives (similar to those offered within an enterprise zone) to companies that propose to make a substantial capital investment in operations and will create or retain above average number of jobs. Businesses may qualify for: investment tax credits, a state sales tax exemption on building materials, an exemption from state sales tax on utilities, a state sales tax exemption on manufacturing equipment purchases, repair and replacement parts. The project must involve a minimum of $12 million investment causing the creation of 500 full-time jobs or an investment of $30 million causing the retention of 1500 full-time jobs. The investment must take place at a designated location in Illinois outside of an Enterprise Zone. The program has been expanded to include qualified new electric generating facility, production operations at a new coal mine or, a new or upgraded transmission facility that supports the creation of 150 Illinois coal-mining jobs, or a newly constructed gasification facility as a “Coal/Energy High Impact Businesses”.

Category: IL State Incentive, Illinois Tax Assistance Programs

Business Development Public Infrastructure Program (BDPIP)

The BDPIP program is designed to provide grants to units of local government for public improvements on behalf of businesses undertaking a major expansion or relocation project that will result in substantial private investment and the creation and/or retention of a large amount of Illinois jobs. The infrastructure improvements must be made for public benefit and on public property and must directly result in the creation or retention of private sector jobs. The local government must demonstrate clear need for financial assistance to undertake the improvements. Grant eligibility and amounts are determined by the amount of investment and job creation or retention involved.

Category: IL State Incentive, Illinois Grant Assistance Programs

Community Development Assistance Program for Economic Development (CDAP-ED)

The CDAP- ED program is a federally funded program that is designed to provide grants to units of local government for economic development activities related to business retention and or expansion opportunities. The program is targeted to assist low-to-moderate income people by creating job opportunities and improving the quality of their living environment. Local governments qualifying to receive grant funds can then make these funds available in the form of loans to businesses locating or expanding in their community. A local government may request grant funds of up to $750,000. Funds may be used for machinery and equipment, working capital, and building construction and renovation. The local government may also use the grant funds for improvements to public infrastructure that directly support a specific economic development project. Applications may be submitted at any time. Local government entities located in heavily populated metropolitan areas of the state may receive funding directly from the federal government and therefore, are ineligible for participation through this program.

Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) Loan Program

The CSBG Loan Program is administered jointly by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), statewide Community Action Agencies (CAAs) and Illinois Ventures for Community Action (IVCA). The Program provides long-term, fixed-rate financing to new or expanding small businesses in exchange for job creation and employment for low-income individuals. CSBG funds usually make up between 20-49% of the entire loan project and have a low interest rate of 5% to 7.5%.

Category: IL State Incentive, Illinois Loan Programs

Employer Training Incentive Program (ETIP)

The Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) helps keep Illinois workers’ skills in pace with new technologies and business practices, which, in turn, helps businesses increase productivity, reduce costs, improve quality and boost competitiveness. ETIP grants can reimburse new or expanding companies for up to 50 percent of the cost of training their employees. Trainees must be employed by the company prior to implementation of the training program. Instructors may be plant workers, public educators, private consultants, or others possessing the required expertise. Grants may be awarded to individual businesses, original equipment manufacturers sponsoring multi-company training for employees of their Illinois supplier companies, and to intermediary organizations operating multi-company training projects.

Illinois Capital Access Program (CAP)

The Illinois Capital Access Program (CAP) is designed to encourage financial institutions to make loans to small and new businesses that do not qualify under conventional lending policies. CAP is a form of loan portfolio insurance, which provides additional reserve coverage to the lender on loan defaults. By participating in CAP, lenders have available to them a proven financing mechanism to meet the needs of financial institutions and Illinois small businesses.

Enterprise Zone Participation Loan Program (EZ/PLP)

The EZ/PLP is a variation of the conventional PLP Program, in that DCEO subordinates the loans through participating lending institutions, but the EZ/PLP may be able to provide small businesses located in an enterprise zone a more attractive loan rate than a conventional PLP.

Category: IL State Incentive, Illinois Loan Programs

IL Dept of Agriculture AgriFirst Grant Program

The AgriFIRST program is designed to provide grants to persons and agribusinesses in Illinois for the purpose of developing projects that enhance the value of agricultural products or expand agribusiness in Illinois

Category: Illinois Grant Assistance Programs, IL State Incentive

IL State Treasurer's Office

The Illinois State Treasurers Office offers a number of programs that are designed to assist the Illinois business community by providing access to capital and financing at affordable rates. These programs are created to to promote economic development activities that create and retain jobs within the state. To view the Treasurer’s programs please click on the link below, which offers a number of programs that are designed to assist the Illinois business community..

Category: IL State Incentive, Illinois Loan Programs


Large Business Development Program (LBDP)

The LBDP program is designed to provide grants to businesses undertaking a major expansion or relocation project that will result in substantial private investment and the creation and/or retention of a large number of Illinois jobs. Funds available through the program may be used by large businesses for bondable business activities, including financing the purchase of land or buildings, building construction or renovation, and certain types of machinery and equipment. Grant eligibility and amounts are determined by the amount of investment and job creation or retention involved.

Category: IL State Incentive, Illinois Grant Assistance Programs

Minority, Women & Disabled Participation Loan Program (MWD/PLP)

The MWD/PLP program is a variation of the conventional PLP, in that DCEO subordinates the loans through participating lending institutions, but the MWD/PLP program can provide Illinois small businesses that are 51 percent owned and managed by persons who are minorities, women, or disabled, with loans up to $50,000 or 50 % of the total project.

Category: IL State Incentive, Illinois Loan Programs

Participation Loan Program (PLP)

The PLP program is designed to work through banks and other conventional lending institutions, to provide subordinated financial assistance to Illinois small businesses that employ Illinois workers. A business with 500 or fewer employees may apply for a PLP loan of not less than $10,000 nor more than $750,000. Loans shall not exceed 25% of the total project and may not be used for debt refinancing or contingency funding.

Category: IL State Incentive, Illinois Loan Programs

Revolving Line of Credit Program (RLOC)

The RLOC program can provide qualifying businesses with a subordinated line of credit through banks and other convention lending institutions at affordable interest rates.

Category: IL State Incentive, Illinois Loan Programs

Rural Micro-Business Business Participation Loan Program

The Rural Micro-business Participation Loan Program is a variation of the Participation Loan Program designed to provide subordinated loans of up to 50% of a project (maximum $25,000) to Illinois Rural Micro-businesses through participating lending institutions. A rural micro-business is a for profit business that: (i) employs 5 or fewer full-time employees, including the owner if the owner is an employee, and (ii) is based on the production, processing, or marketing of agricultural products, forest products, cottage and craft products, or tourism. The borrower is required to provide equity of at least 10% of the project up to $1,000 (10% of a $10,000 project). Funds cannot be used for debt refinancing or contingency funding.

IL Finance Authority (IFA)

The Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) is a self-financed, state authority principally engaged in issuing taxable and tax-exempt bonds, making loans, and investing capital for businesses, non-profit corporations, agriculture and local government units statewide. IFA finances about $3 billion each year, helping generate economic growth and job creation.

Category: IL State Incentive, Illinois Loan Programs

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Playing Games July 17, 2024 It is summer. There is no question about it. We have the heat, festivals, golf outings, and summer storms to prove it. It is easy this time of year to go from meeting to event, seemingly ad infinitum. Our focus in the summer can become very short term: How do I get into air conditioning the fastest? How can I […]
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Know Your Audience June 19, 2024 Freeport, greater freeport partnership, Stephenson County Other Partnership staff members and I often get asked to speak to local service organizations about what’s going on in Freeport and Stephenson County. We love these occasions to get out in the community, hear from great people, talk about positive progress, and learn from other perspectives.   Before one such opportunity last week, I was able to join the group […]