Chicagoland Job Creators Grant

A total of $50,000 to be awarded to Illinois businesses

Applications Open January 7, 2025

What We Are Offering

$50,000 in Small Business Grants

The $50,000 fund will make investments to 10 diverse-led businesses in Illinois. Frequently Asked Questions

Accelerator Program Scholarship

As part of our mission to provide continued education, all grant recipients will receive a scholarship to a Founders First accelerator program. Learn More

How it Works


January 7, 2025

Please visit the Grant FAQ page or contact us for more information.

Eligibility Requirements

Businesses owned by founders who do not fit the groups listed on the eligibility criteria, but whose backgrounds are underrepresented in their industries are encouraged to apply and provide information about how the backgrounds and/or experiences of their owners would enhance the diversity of FFCDC’s program participants.​

Take Advantage Of The Benefits

Timeline and Important Dates

The pre-registration window is your opportunity to secure your spot early for a chance to receive grant funding for your business. Don’t worry, if you pre-register, we will ensure to remind you by email when the grant application launches on January 7, 2025.

Once the grant application opens, you’ll receive reminder emails containing direct links to the page where you left off. If you require assistance with the application, such as needing the application link or having questions about the assets, please email

The deadline to complete this grant application is February 4, 2025. 

For this application, you will be asked to provide these assets: 

  • Headshot Photo
  • Work Organization Chart
  • Profit / Loss Sheet
  • 1-3 minute video answering:
    • Description of your company.
    • What your company does/who you serve.
    • Why did you start your business?
    • Explain to the judges why you should be awarded a grant.

Do you need help with your application? We offer Virtual Office Hours through Zoom to answer any questions you may have or to assist you in progressing through the application process. If you are unable to join, please email your questions to

Register Here: (Zoom Meeting)

  • TBD

Our team and our supporting partners will commence the evaluation of the grant semi-finalist applications. During this period, you will be invited to participate in an exclusive virtual educational program, which we have designed with the intention of enhancing your understanding of how prepared your business is for funding, at no cost to you.

Important Note:
To be eligible as a finalist, completion of this educational program is required. However, the results from this program will not impact your ranking within the finalist bracket.

We will announce the finalists for the Chicagoland Job Creators Grant during our Virtual Press Event on Zoom. The event will feature a select group of our regional partners, our Executive Director Shaylon Scott, and Founder Kim Folsom, who will speak and congratulate the grant finalists.

Watch our recap of our 2023 Chicagoland Press Event:

Pre-Register For The
2025 Chicagoland Job Creators Grant

Short Form - Chicago - Formstack
Please use your business email address.

Founders First offers intensive growth accelerators to help founders like you to grow and expand their businesses.

While the time required is significant, 87% saw increased revenue in just 3-6 months following completion. For more details watch this video of a recent pitch competition to see the impact of our accelerators.

How much capital have you raised for your company so far?*
What types of capital have you raised?*
I agree to receive text messages from Founders First about my grant application and their services.
Grant Interest
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