Start A Business

 The City of Evanston, Illinois  is dedicated to economic development and the advancement of our community.  Open and ready for business, Evanston’s Economic Development team is here to partner with you in order to make your experience with the city seamless.  Whether your business has called Evanston home for decades, months, or you are hoping to soon join our proud business community Evanston fosters a unique entrepreneurial character and caring spirit for shared success.  It is this collaboration of know-your-neighbor attitude, urban yet casual sensibility, collegiate enthusiasm, and diverse but common thread that make Evanston an ideal place to be.

Evanston is Open for Business! 

4 Step Guide to Opening a Business in Evanston


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Complete the New Business Online Interest Form.

Review our helpful Business Resources.

Schedule initial consultation with an Economic Development Specialist.


Location & Zoning

Need a location?
Review our Available Properties database.

Have a location?
Verify that your business location complies with zoning regulations.


Apply for License

All new businesses need to apply for a Business License.
You are exempt if you are currently licensed by the State or Federal government .

Any business that includes food sales, service, or storage require a
Food Establishment License, this license takes the place of the business license listed above.

Inspection & Permits

The Building Office provides enforcement of the City Adopted Building Codes. This includes reviewing all building plans for code compliance, issuing of building permits, construction inspections and fire alarm/suppression application.

Permits are required prior to starting remodeling, repairing, demolition or new construction at your business.

Submittal Checklists are required for all permit applications (except for any ‘over the counter’ type permits)

Inspections are conducted upon completion.

Open for Business

Certificate of Occupancy and Business License issued.



We wish you success in your business endeavor
and are happy to have you in Evanston!


For information on Home Based Businesses  please click here >>>

For information on Contractors Licensing please click here>>>

Additional Questions, please Contact Us
(847) 448-8100

View on City of Evanston Website