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The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

Mayor Lee Announces Over $2.5 Million in New Funding to Support San Francisco’s Legacy Businesses

New Funding to Create Largest Economic Development & Impact Program that Invests in Strengthening Success of San Francisco’s Legacy Businesses

San Francisco, CA—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced more than $2.5 million in new funding in his proposed Fiscal Years 2016-17 and 2017-18 budget to create, develop and implement the San Francisco Legacy Business Program, which was approved by voters last November. The goals of the San Francisco Legacy Business Program are to stabilize, strengthen and sustain longtime San Francisco small businesses, especially those which have played a big part in the City’s local economy, diversity and history.

“Our longtime businesses are a vital part of what makes our neighborhoods unique and vibrant,” said Mayor Lee. “I am proud to invest over $2.5 million in new funding through my budget to help San Francisco legacy businesses succeed.”

“I created the Legacy Business program because the time is now for the City to provide some relief to small historic businesses that are struggling in our increasingly expensive City,” said Supervisor David Campos. “These businesses are the heart of our neighborhoods and commercial corridors. By overwhelmingly approving Prop J, the voters of San Francisco sent a clear message that preservation of the bars, restaurants, arts venues, non-profits and corner stores where we spend so much of our time is a priority. I am thrilled we were able to work with the Mayor to fully implement the will of the voters.”

“Last November, the voters recognized that the City has a responsibility to help preserve our legacy businesses and its past time to give them the help they need to stay competitive during an affordability crisis,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin. “I’m optimistic that our board committee hearing, combined with the Mayor’s renewed commitment to the Legacy Business Preservation Fund, will ensure that we not only start administering relief immediately but that the program sustains itself for the long haul.”

“We support the Mayor’s initiative to assist some of San Francisco's most iconic small businesses which are challenged by the unprecedented recent increases in operating expenses,” said Small Business Commission President Mark Dwight.

At this funding level, the Legacy Business Program will be the largest economic development program in the City. The Program will be implemented by the Office of Small Business and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD). It will include new staffing to support and guide businesses as they apply for the Registry and provide dedicated business assessments and assistance. Furthermore, it will leverage existing staff and resources at the Office of Economic and Workforce Development for business technical assistance. Under the new funding, a range of services and grants will be available including:

· Marketing and Promotion
· Business Assistance Grants
· Rent Stabilization Grants
· Business Assessments
· Business Technical Assistance, Tenant Improvement Grants and Property Acquisition Grants.

The purpose of the San Francisco Legacy Business Program is to recognize that longstanding, community-serving businesses are an essential component of San Francisco’s neighborhood character, provide low-cost goods to a wide range of shoppers, act as community gathering places, and provide jobs to people who need them. The new program will be guided by the small business community through outreach from the Office of Small Business and Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

The new funding builds on the services and resources for legacy and small businesses alike through OEWD’s Invest In Neighborhoods Initiative (IIN). The initiative creates jobs and economic opportunities by providing focused, customized assistance to meet the specific needs of San Francisco’s neighborhood commercial corridors.

“When I first came to the area I was one of two coffee shops, now many more businesses have opened. I now have more customers than before and the competition has motivated me to make progress and improve. I have made substantial improvements to the storefront and to my business operations by purchasing new coffee machines; allowing me to increase sales thanks to city services. My customers are happier which means I am happier, “said Carmen Elias, Owner of La Mejor Bakery on 24th Street. “The Legacy Program would provide added benefits to help fund additional improvements and keep my business competitive for years to come.”

“The small business assistance and support we received really helped our shop, gave ideas on how to improve our business, and oversaw the shop’s cleaning and painting. If there are incentives to provide small businesses with long-term stabilization, it would greatly help our business. We want to contribute to the City for as long as we can,” said Nancy and Kevin Chan, Successors of the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory at 56 Ross Alley has been a neighborhood staple since 1962.

Over the past five years, Invest in Neighborhoods has provided over 139 neighborhood grants totaling almost $5 million to promote, beautify, and activate our neighborhoods; completed 605 assessments to assist small businesses in complying with the American Disabilities Act (ADA); administered 617 loans totaling over $23.5 million to small businesses, creating 752 jobs; granted 66 local businesses a total of $2.2 million for façade and tenant improvements; transformed 10 small businesses so that they provide healthy food options in communities that are underserved; and visited more than 35,000 businesses with on the ground assistance from the Jobs Squad team.