Starting & Growing a Business

The City of Rock Island offers a variety of assistance opportunities to those who wish to start or grow a business in the community. Some of the assistance opportunities are financial while some of the assistance opportunities are technical. 

Entrepreneurs in the beginning stages of starting a business should refer to the Development Association of Rock Island's guide "How to Start a Business in Rock Island".  The State of Illinois also has helpful information for review at this link

For businesses that would like assistance in navigating the process of writing a business plan or exploring best practices and advice on the process of starting a business may contact the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Western Illinois University Quad Cities.  Visit their website here.

A variety of business assistance programs are available to businesses in the City of Rock Island.  Program incentives are established by City Council policy and administered by Community and Economic Development Department staff. Program incentives include:

Varying Factors for Negotiating Incentives

Negotiated incentives are tailored to meet individual project needs and require approval of the City Council. Negotiated incentives are incorporated in a development agreement, which is placed on a council agenda for action. Negotiated incentives depend on a variety of factors:
  • Are there broader community benefits that will result from the project?
  • Are there likely to be additional indirect benefits from the project?
  • Does the project address a City Council goal?
  • How many jobs will be created or retained by the project?
  • What is the financial return to the City from the project?
  • What is the need for public support?
  • Is the project financially feasible without City assistance?
  • What is the record of success of the party proposing the project?
  • Will the project generate additional investment?

Additional Forms of Support & Assistance

Aside from financial incentives, the City offers a variety of non-financial support for business start-ups or expansion, including:

  • Assistance in accessing state programs
  • Demographic information
  • Extension of infrastructure
  • Sequential permitting
  • Site and building location assistance
Quad City Business Links provide additional resources for assistance.

Our Mission & Strategic Plan

The City of Rock Island is dedicated to fostering new and expanding business enterprise in the community. As stated in the City's Economic Development Strategic Plan, our mission is to fulfill our development goals through the dedicated delivery of programs, activities, and projects in a fair, consistent, forthright, effective, and fiscally responsible manner. Timely, thorough, and respectful responsiveness to requests for information, assistance, and support will be the guiding principles for all interaction with the business and development community.