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Legal At Last

Homebased businesses are finally legal in Chicago. Here's how they did it.

On the face of it, the passage of legislation last May legalizing homebased businesses in Chicago was just a matter of timing. After all, America is in a growing love affair with the concept of working from home. Corporations are restructuring, throwing thousand of workers into an overcrowded and hostile job market and prompting many of them to start businesses from home. At the same time, technology has made creating a professional homebased business almost as simple as flicking a switch.

Legalizing homebased businesses in America's third largest city was simply a concept whose time had come. that's all there was to it . . . right?

Not quite.

In fact, the battle to win approval of the ordinance to legalize these businesses turned into a 12-year fight in the Chicago city council that involved redefining homebased business as an economic concern rather than a women's issue and creating powerful alliances between government, homebased business advocates and corporate America.

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This article was originally published in the January 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Legal At Last.

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