Mayor Breed Launches $12 Million San Francisco Small Business Recovery Loan Fund
Applications launched today for zero percent interest loans of up to $100,000 for new and existing San Francisco small businesses
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced the launch of a new loan program designed to provide zero percent interest loans to San Francisco small businesses. This new loan program supports not only existing but new businesses by providing working capital, with the goal of reaching businesses left out of existing relief programs and those who face greater barriers to accessing capital.
To meet the overwhelming need created by the COVID-19 pandemic, San Francisco has successfully leveraged investments during the past year to maximize available loans to small businesses. Working with State-backed lending partners and local community-based partners, the City has now leveraged additional funding to offer small businesses zero-interest loans ranging up to $100,000. This is the largest small business loan program to date.
The SF Small Business Recovery Loan Fund will begin accepting loan applications today. Small businesses can apply online at www.CALoanFund.org. The program is being administered through the California Rebuilding Fund in partnership with KIVA and local Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) including Main Street Launch, Mission Economic Development Agency, CDC Small Business Finance, Pacific Community Ventures, and the National Asian American Coalition.
“The COVID-19 pandemic decimated many of our small businesses and forced them to change their business models to meet public health and safety demands,” said Mayor Breed. “Small businesses have kept this city alive throughout the pandemic and will play a critical role in our economic recovery. It’s more important than ever that we provide necessary funding and pass legislation that will help small businesses successfully operate in San Francisco for years to come.”
While COVID-19 cases are falling and California has lifted many of its pandemic restrictions, small businesses in San Francisco are still struggling to rebuild from the economic fallout. A recent report from the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce found that as many as 50% of San Francisco’s businesses remain closed even as the city reopens.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, San Francisco has provided immediate and ongoing support for small businesses, including making available more than $52.8 million in grants and loans to support more than 3,000 small businesses, in addition to tens of millions of dollars in fee and tax deferrals, and assistance applying for state and federal funding. This includes legislation introduced and signed by Mayor Breed to waive $5 million in fees and taxes for entertainment and nightlife venues and small restaurants.
“Small businesses led the way out of the Great Recession and they can do it again now, but not without access to business support and flexible and affordable credit,” said Kate Sofis, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “Our small businesses need a continued, concerted effort to help them rebuild and reopen safely. The San Francisco Small Business Recovery Loan Fund will allow them to obtain the capital they need to quickly get back on their feet, hire workers, and become operational without worrying interest payments. Every dollar they can save to put back into their business supports the City’s goals for a lasting, equitable small business recovery.”
In addition to creating and supporting programs that respond to the urgent and ongoing needs of COVID-19, Mayor Breed has continued to invest in programs that regularly support small businesses in San Francisco, including the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative and Grants for the Arts. The City has advanced numerous initiatives to make it easier to operate and open businesses during COVID-19 and beyond, such as the Shared Spaces program and the Small Business Recovery Act legislation, which was introduced in March and is scheduled for hearings in the coming weeks. More information about San Francisco’s support for small businesses is available here. City resources have focused on prioritizing those that face the greatest barriers to accessing state, federal, and private capital. Of the total 1,938 grants and loans awarded so far 74.5% have been to minority owned businesses and 52.7% to women owned businesses.
"Having narrowly survived the effects of the pandemic, we are all now coming to terms with the harsh reality of how to manage our debts in order to stay in business," said Deanna Sison, Owner of Mestiza Taqueria. "Programs like the SF Small business Recovery Fund will continue to help us build a path to recovery."
The San Francisco Small Business Recovery Fund is the latest small business loan program, the largest to date and the first locally supported program open to new businesses. It will provide much needed support as businesses seek to recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The SF Small Business Recovery Loan Fund offers interest-free, flexible working capital loans that can be used for a variety of business expenses without restrictions for businesses that often lack access to affordable credit,” said Beth Bafford of Calvert Impact Capital, lead arranger of the Fund. “This kind of access to credit and support from community lenders will help more San Francisco small businesses rebuild as the economy opens up. San Francisco is widely known as one of the leading centers of innovation in the nation and it is hoped that the SF Small Business Recovery Fund will serve as a model to other cities across the country.”
“San Francisco’s Mission District has been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially its small-business owners,” said MEDA Director of Fondo Adelante CDFI Elizabeth Dwyer. “These 0%-interest loans made possible by OEWD through the California Rebuilding Fund will support the equitable recovery efforts of MEDA's CDFI to provide targeted relief to small ventures owned by community members in San Francisco who are low-income, people of color and women, so that they cannot just survive, but thrive.”