Rockford Community Partners is proud to announce “BUSINESSFirst”, a joint venture with the City of Rockford, Winnebago County, Winnebago County Health Department, Small Business Development Center and Rock River Water Reclamation District to assist individuals in redeveloping an existing property or open a new business in an existing property. 

BUSINESSFirst starts by making available a team of partners to any individual with a redevelopment project in the community.  An individual can make an appointment to meet with the team for 30 minutes to discuss their project.  The team meets:  

  • the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, from 2:30pm – 4:30pm
  • at the Regional Center for Planning & Design, 315 North Main Street, Rockford, IL  61101
  • beginning June 23, 2015

By having all of these partners in one place at one time, face to face with the customer, we are able to facilitate the most efficient and effective process for the customer. 

How can you utilize BUSINESSFirst?

  1. Sign up for a 30 minute appointment (at least one week in advance) at
  2. If you sign up for an appointment, you are required to complete a basic survey no later than one week prior to your This will allow the team to be as prepared as possible to assist you.
  3. Review the “how-to” guide prior to your appointment. Clickhereto download the "how-to" guide.  (For a Spanish version, please clickhere.)
  4. Print the “take-away” guide and take it to the appointment with you.  Clickhereto download the "take-away" guide. (For a Spanish version, please clickhere.)
  5. At the appointment, the appropriate team members will meet together with you to walk through your project.The team will address timeline, costs, permits, zoning, and business planning issues.You will leave the meeting with the “take-away” guide, which will include next steps and contact information for the individuals you need to work with.If you require additional time, you may sign up for another appointment.
  6. If you have preliminary business plan, budget, or layout drawings for your project created already, submit prior to your meeting to submit@businessfirst.supportor bring them with you.
  7. We highly recommend, that you not sign a lease, purchase agreement or make a down payment prior to your appointment.