Press Release

Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Vallie Brown announce investments to strengthen San Francisco small businesses

$9 million budget proposal to help small businesses grow and succeed, building on the Storefront Vacancy Strategy introduced by Mayor Breed and Supervisor Brown.

San Francisco, CA - Mayor London N. Breed and District 5 Supervisor Vallie Brown today announced new investments to strengthen small business programs as part of the Mayor’s two-year budget proposal. The proposed investments for Fiscal Years (FY) 2019-20 and 2020-21 include $9 million to provide small businesses with access to capital through low-interest loans, resources for storefront and tenant improvements, and new funding to provide small businesses with financial assistance for regulatory fees.

“Over the past few months I have been meeting regularly with our small business community to figure out how we can help them grow and thrive in San Francisco, and the investments we are making in this budget are a reflection of those priorities,” said Mayor Breed. “In addition to streamlining our permitting process, we are helping reduce burdensome fees, providing grants for small business improvements, and creating incentives to fill vacant storefronts throughout the City.”

These investments for FY 19-20 & 20-21 build on Mayor Breed’s existing efforts to support small businesses. Together with Supervisor Vallie Brown, Mayor Breed announced a Citywide Storefront Vacancy Strategy to retain, strengthen, and attract businesses to commercial corridors throughout San Francisco. The proposal is a multi-pronged approach that includes legislation, program investments and administrative reforms to fill vacant storefronts and find new and creative ways for businesses to use these spaces. Additionally, Mayor Breed’s administration has hosted roundtable meetings and small business forums to provide a space where business owners can discuss their concerns and challenges with operating a small business in the City.

“Amid rising costs and a changing retail climate, entrepreneurs are facing real challenges to starting a business in San Francisco. These investments, partnered with our policy and program reforms, will help change that,” said Joaquín Torres, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “By streamlining small businesses’ experience with government and empowering entrepreneurs of all backgrounds, we are supporting the health of our neighborhood corridors and enabling community businesses to grow and succeed in our city.”

Mayor Breed’s proposed budget investments for small businesses includes funding for the following programs that will support small businesses in San Francisco:

  • $4 million – Community Cornerstones grant program: This new program will provide financial assistance to small businesses and nonprofits for tenant improvements located within ground floor spaces in newly constructed affordable housing throughout San Francisco. This investment will support the retention and stability of participating nonprofits and small businesses while fostering the economic health and well-being of neighborhoods across the city.
  • $2 million - Small Business Fee Assistance: This new funding will help mitigate the cost burden small businesses face from ongoing regulatory fees.
  • $1 million - Increase funding for the City’s Revolving Loan Fund: Provides small businesses with access to city sponsored low-interest loans with flexible terms that help small businesses start, stabilize, grow, and stay in San Francisco.
  • $2 million - Expand SF Shines program: Provides grants, design assistance, and project management to improve storefront façades and business interiors including signage, awnings, murals, ADA compliance upgrades, and historic preservation efforts. In addition to physical improvements to storefronts, the program provides branding and architectural design services.

San Francisco’s small businesses employ more than 350,000 individuals, which supports the local economy throughout a number of different sectors. The City provides a multitude of business opportunities, resources, and works to create an entrepreneurial environment to support those starting and growing their business.

The Office of Economic and Workforce Development provides grants to strengthen neighborhood commercial districts by implementing small business improvement projects while offering a range of technical services such as loans, lease negotiations and counseling to small businesses citywide.

"Being recognized as a legacy business and receiving a grant from the SF Shines program gave us the opportunity to align the vision and spirit of Two Jack’s with a tangible reality. We have always believed that our authentic commitment to our community was the most important and beautiful part of our business model. It’s a blessing that these programs help provide the opportunity to celebrate and exhibit those beliefs,” said Nikki Cooper, Owner of Two Jacks Nik’s Place.

The Mayor’s full budget will be announced on Friday, May 31 and presented to the Board of Supervisors.

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