Mayor Lee Announces Initiative to Boost Small Business & Create Jobs
$1.5 Million to be Made Immediately Available to City’s Small Business; Backbone of SF Economy
1/24/12—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced that he will make $1.5 million dollars immediately available to small businesses in San Francisco through the City’s successful Small Business Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) to support business expansion and job creation.
“Making capital available to San Francisco’s small businesses is the key to supporting economic growth in our neighborhoods and creating new jobs,” said Mayor Lee. “There is nothing worse than seeing vacant store fronts on our vibrant neighborhood commercial corridors. I will continue to identify additional capital to leverage the success of the revolving loan fund to support existing small businesses and help entrepreneurs looking to open up shop.”
Mayor Lee will introduce the $1 million supplemental budget appropriation at the Board of Supervisors today with co-sponsorship by Board President David Chiu and Supervisors Mark Farrell, Christina Olague and Scott Wiener.
The Mayor’s $1 million budget supplemental leverages Wells Fargo’s contribution of $430,000 to the RLF combined with an additional $247,000 from small business loan repayments and the SOMA Stabilization Fund. Wells Fargo funding will be specifically targeted to businesses in low- and moderate-income commercial districts in the Southeast Sector of the City.
“Wells Fargo is glad to work with San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee to provide capital to small businesses in San Francisco’s southeast sector,” said Wells Fargo’s Executive Vice President and President of San Francisco Bay Region Michael Billeci. “As the number one lender to small businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area, we know the critical role they play in job creation, economic development and helping neighborhoods thrive.”
Mayor Lee made the announcement at Brenda’s French Soul Food at 652 Polk Street. Brenda’s is a recipient of a Working Solutions small business loan and has also benefited from the City’s SF Shines Facade Improvement Program which provides small grants to businesses in a number of low- and moderate-income neighborhood commercial districts. With funding from Opportunity Fund and Wells Fargo, Brenda’s opened on Polk Street in August 2007. Her business was an instant success, often bursting at the seams with people waiting for a table. With financial assistance from the Revolving Loan Fund, Brenda’s expanded to the vacant Laundromat next door, doubling the space and capacity of the business in 2011.
“It was always my dream to open a restaurant in a gritty neighborhood, where everyone would be welcome,” said Brenda’s French Soul Food Owner and Executive Chef Brenda Buenviaje. “The Lower Polk District turned out to be the perfect location in which I could recreate and serve the food of my childhood.”
The City’s Revolving Loan Fund, managed by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development and administered by TMC Working Solution, was launched in July of 2009 with the intention of creating jobs and increasing access to capital. To date, OEWD and TMC have successfully administered the entire $670,000 loan fund, and have supported 27 San Francisco small businesses and have generated 73 jobs.
“We are delighted about these new funds available from the City of San Francisco to help entrepreneurs start and grow local businesses,” said Working Solutions Executive Director Emily Gasner. “And we are eager to hear from small businesses interested in applying.”
While RLF funds will be available to small businesses Citywide, it is also an instrumental tool in the City’s neighborhood economic development strategy, helping catalyze economic activity in targeted commercial corridors. Lower Polk is one of 11 neighborhoods included in the City’s Neighborhood Marketplace Initiative (NMI) neighborhood economic development program. NMI, a partnership between the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and community stakeholders, has laid the groundwork for Mayor’s Invest in Neighborhoods strategy, which is part of his 17-point Roadmap to Good Jobs and Opportunity plan.