Mayor London Breed Announces Expansion in Financial Relief for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
Second Phase of funding includes $6.5 million to support over 300 small businesses
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development today announced the opening of the application process for $6.5 million in funds to support small businesses. This $6.5 million includes $1.5 million for the San Francisco’s Small Business Resiliency Fund and $5 million for the Hardship Emergency Loan Program (SF HELP) in the form of grants and 0% interest loans to support over 300 small businesses. Financial assistance for small businesses has focused on providing relief and sustaining small businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic and to position businesses to transform and evolve as the economy safely reopens. To date, the City has identified $15.5 million in grants and loans to support small businesses.
“The impact of COVID-19 on small businesses has been unprecedented and many challenges lay ahead as we take steps towards reopening, but I know that together this City can rise to meet this challenge,” said Mayor Breed. “Together with our community leaders, community organizations, and funding partners, we are responding to address the needs of our most vulnerable populations, our frontline workers, and small businesses.”
The San Francisco Resiliency Fund and SF HELP are programs designed to be flexible and low-risk to serve small businesses, sole proprietors, and independent contractors with little to no access to traditional credit in underserved communities. The programs are a result of public and private partnerships that leverage various resources, including the generous donations to the Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. Donations to Give2SF support housing stabilization, food security, and financial security for workers and small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Small businesses that have been impacted or faced damaged from the recent civil unrest and that are eligible, may apply for the funds as well.
“Together, with private and public partners, we have committed ourselves to leveraging every resource available to equitably support our struggling small business communities through this unprecedented time,” said Joaquín Torres, Director, Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “As the City reopens, our investments will continue to serve our small businesses and ensure our communities and neighborhoods have the support they need for the benefit of San Francisco’s cultural and economic recovery.”
The City partnered with community organizations to inform the grant and loan processes and ensure the resources are designed with a focus on equity to address the needs of our most vulnerable low-income businesses and to reach those in historically underserved neighborhoods. To date, the City has awarded $5.5 million in relief to more than 400 small businesses in San Francisco.
Interested small businesses can visit oewd.org/covid19/business to learn more about how to apply for SF HELP and the San Francisco Resiliency Fund program.
San Francisco Resiliency Fund
The second phase of San Francisco Resiliency Fund grant program will provide a total of $1.5 million to at least 190 struggling small businesses of up to $10,000 in aid. The funds may be used to support business expenses such as rent, payroll, and utilities or to supplement their income resulting from a direct loss of business revenue. The goal of the Resiliency Fund Phase Two is to provide financial support to the most vulnerable businesses, including those that are long-standing and those most heavily impacted by COVID-19 without access to any alternate flexible funding.
Most recently, OEWD awarded $1 million from the Resiliency Fund to 128 small businesses from across 31 neighborhoods citywide including restaurants, retailers, caterers, and hair salons. All businesses who applied that were not awarded in Phase One will be automatically enrolled and considered for Phase Two. The Resiliency Fund is administered in part by the Northeast Federal Community Credit Union.
“Our small family restaurant has been operating since 1994 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to close in March without knowing if we were going to make it at all,” said Noris Gomez, local small business owner of Sabor de San Miguel. “The Small Business Resiliency Fund has helped us pay for back dated utility bills, rent and has given us a fighting chance to come back stronger than ever. We are forever grateful for this assistance and hope to open and continue serving our community soon.”
“The application process was straightforward and not cumbersome. My application was reviewed shortly as their staff contacted me for missing documents and information. The staff were extremely efficient and courteous,” said Peter Wu, Munchboxx Café. “With the funds, I was able to pay rent and utilities on my mom and pop business to keep it afloat during this challenging time.”
San Francisco Hardship Emergency Loan Program
An additional $5 million to SF HELP will provide approximately 110 small businesses up to $50,000 in zero interest loans. SF HELP provides flexible funding to businesses unable to access other types of government loan products. This new round of SF HELP loans will be available in partnership with Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), a nonprofit community partner. Through $1 million from Give2SF, MEDA was able to leverage and expand the loan program by $ 4 million through a finance tool with a state partnership. Currently, $3.5 million in loans are making its way to small businesses through community partner Main Street Launch.
“The reality for small businesses in our City has changed dramatically and quickly. Most small businesses have a vastly diminished customer base, if they are able to continue operating at all. Many have had to lay off their workers, and business owners have had to go without pay themselves,” said Luis Granados, CEO, Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA). “MEDA’s Fondo Adelante, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), is proud to partner with Mayor Breed, OEWD and the California I-Bank to put into action SF HELP -- an equitable solution for quickly deploying financial assistance during this crisis.”
The City is working to leverage additional funds for larger impact for small businesses and will announce the next application phase when it becomes available.
Neighborhood Small Business Mini Grants
Today, the City also announced the awarding of nearly $800,000 in Neighborhood Small Business Mini Grants to 276 small independently owned businesses in underserved commercial corridors including the Bayview, Central Market and the Tenderloin, Excelsior, Japantown, Fillmore, Mission, South of Market, and the Oceanview Merced Ingleside neighborhoods. An additional $200,000 is currently being processed as part of the Women Entrepreneurship Fund.
The grants were designed to provide financial support of $1,000 to $10,000 to family-run businesses, owner operated businesses, entrepreneurs of color, and other enterprises in historically underserved communities who may not have employees on payroll. These businesses included salons, barbershops, flower shops, gift shops, independent contractors and many others that were severely impacted when they had to close or reduce operations.
“The Third Street commercial corridor in Bayview/Hunters Point is mostly made up of diverse family-owned businesses whose owners live in the community they serve,” said Earl Shaddix, Executive Director of Economic Development on Third. “We are proud to have partnered with Mayor Breed and Office of Economic and Workforce Development to convert existing organizational funding into the Phoenix Grant which provided immediate assistance to our for-profit, Third Street business owners.”
Funds for the Neighborhood Small Business Mini Grants were made possible in close partnership with neighborhood organizations to reallocate City economic development funds to COVID-19 relief efforts. Community partners administered the funds, conducted outreach and delivered the financial aid directly to qualifying businesses within these targeted areas. Partners include Excelsior Action Group, MEDA, Economic Development on Third, Renaissance Center for Entrepreneurs, Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, Japantown Taskforce and Japantown Community Benefit District, Japanese Community Youth Council, Tenderloin Equitable Development Project, Outer Mission Merchants, Northeast Federal Credit Union, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
Additional Support for Small Businesses
Mayor Breed’s initiatives to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic include:
- Deferring business registration fees with up to $49 million for 89,000 businesses and further delaying the City’s collection of the unified license fee until September 30, 2020. This will lead to $14 million in deferrals impacting 11,000 payees. In March, Mayor Breed announced an initial three-month delay for the collection of the fee.
- Business tax deferrals for small businesses with up to $10 million in gross receipts. Mayor Breed and Treasurer Cisneros notified small businesses that their first quarter businesses taxes can be deferred until February 2021. No interest payments, fees, or fines will accrue as a result of the deferral.
- $10 million Workers and Families First Paid Sick Leave Program, providing up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per employee;
- $2.5 million in support for working artists and arts and cultural organizations financially impacted by COVID-19;
- Issuing a Moratorium on Commercial Evictions for small and medium sized businesses that can’t afford to pay rent;
- Capping the commission on 3rd party food delivery companies;
- Advocating for additional resources for small business and workers through the federal CARES Act;
- Establishing the Give2SF Fund, where donations will support housing stabilization, food security, and financial security for workers and small businesses impacted by coronavirus;
- Launching a one-stop City website for businesses and workers seeking resources, contacts, and updates during the COVID-19 emergency: www.oewd.org/covid19.