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Chicago Local Partners

CS Chicago Local Partners

The U.S. Commercial Service offices in Illinois partner with a number of organizations in order to better support Illinois’ exporters.  By supporting and being part of an export assistance ecosystem, the Commercial Service Illinois team helps to ensure exporters get the assistance they need.

Our Export Assistance Partners

The Export-Import Bank of the U.S. assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services, providing such financial programs as export credit insurance, finance guarantees and many others. Chicago area contact: Michael Howard, Midwest Director, Telephone: 312-353-8093,


Over the years, the U.S. Small Business Administration has developed many small business loan and assistance programs, special outreach efforts and initiatives to aid and inform small businesses. SBA’s Illinois District Office and its Springfield Branch Office are responsible for delivering SBA’s many programs and services throughout Illinois’s 102 counties.  

Special loan programs are available for businesses involved in international trade. For additional information, please email Dennis Foldenauer or call him at (312) 353-8065.


District Export Councils (DECs) are organizations of leaders from the local business community, appointed by successive Secretaries of Commerce, whose knowledge of international business provides a source of professional advice for local firms.

Illinois DEC members volunteer their time to sponsor and participate in numerous trade promotion activities. They also supply specialized expertise to small and medium sized businesses that are interested in exporting. Each DEC’s Executive Committee works with the membership to create an annual strategic plan that involves all members in mission fulfillment.

Learn more about the Illinois DEC here: 


The Illinois Department of Commerce’s Office of Trade and Investment (OTI) connects Illinois businesses to global opportunities.  OTI provides export assistance to companies interested in growing their global footprint. Through a network of trade specialist located in Chicago and 7 regional foreign offices, OTI provides businesses with lead generation support and connects companies to foreign governments, chambers of commerce and other strategic partners around the world. 



Illinois Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are located throughout the state and provide information, confidential business guidance, training and other resources to start-up and existing small businesses.

​Illinois International Trade Centers provide assistance with international trade and exporting. The centers offer information, counseling and training to existing and new-to-export companies interested in pursuing international trade opportunities.

Services include:

  • Evaluation of company’s readiness to export
  • Access to foreign market information
  • Documentation assistance
  • Automated trade leads
  • Linkages with trade representatives

Click here to Find ITC’s in your area.


Study Illinois is an international education consortium whose members are Illinois educational institutions that are pooling their resources to market their programs internationally, and more specifically, to market Illinois as a premier study destination for international students.  Illinois ranks 5th in the nation in terms of the number of international students the State attracts, a ranking which has improved one notch since the launching of Study Illinois.  In the 2014-2015 academic year, over 46,500 international students were studying in Illinois, and had a positive economic impact (education services exports) on the state in excess of $1.4 billion.

Study Illinois has benefited considerably from its close association with the U.S. Commercial Service (CS), receiving extensive exposure to universities, study abroad agencies, and students around the world through the CS international network.

For more information on Study Illinois and its current members and activities, please see