Mayor London Breed Signs Legislation to Launch $10.9 Million Grant Program for Small Businesses
Applications launch for San Francisco’s expanded grant program to provide direct financial support for small business
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today signed legislation to fund additional grants and loans to provide immediate financial relief for small businesses struggling as a result of COVID-19. The $10.9 million grant program will focus on helping storefront businesses that have received little to no federal or city funding, businesses that have been forced to close for six months or longer due to state and local regulations, long established businesses, and those in high need neighborhoods.
The City will begin accepting grant applications today. Small businesses can apply online at sf.gov/sf-relief-grants. Beginning in May this grant program will be complemented by the launch of over $10 million in very low to zero-interest loans for small businesses through an initial investment in a partnership with the state backed California Rebuilding Fund.
“While it’s exciting that we’ve been able to reopen more and more parts of our economy, we know that our economic recovery isn’t going to happen overnight. Our small business community has been hurting for more than a year, and they need our continued support,” said Mayor Breed. “These new grants will provide continued relief to help our small businesses survive and recover, which is so critical because we know that our city’s recovery is dependent on their success.”
While no City has the resources to meet a crisis of these proportions alone, locally, San Francisco has already committed more than $24 million to fund grants and loans and has waived millions in fees for our hardest hit small businesses. City resources have focused on prioritizing those that face the greatest barriers to accessing state, federal, and private capital. In total, 57.6% of all OEWD administered COVID-19 small business relief grants have been awarded to women-owned businesses and 67.6% to minority-owned businesses. This latest small business grant program is the largest to date and will provide much needed support as businesses seek to recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grant Program -- $10.9 million
This new grant program will provide immediate relief to help stabilize more than 1,400 small businesses by offering grants of between $5,000 and $25,000 based on the number of employees that each employer had prior to the pandemic. This program will support small businesses operated citywide and target businesses owned by people of color, women, long-standing businesses, those most impacted by Stay at Home orders, and those that were excluded from or otherwise unable to access state and federal programs. Businesses will be required to have a San Francisco storefront open to the public and a San Francisco business license to operate. Grant funding will begin being delivered within 30 days after the application period closes, with the goal of disbursing all $10.9 million by July so as to support businesses impacted by the current surge. More substantial loan funds will follow during the summer to supporting businesses as they further reopen and bring more people back to work.
The grant funds are split into two programs. The Small Business Storefront Equity program focuses on businesses that have been most impacted by closures required by the Stay at Home Order, those that have not been able to access other local, state, and federal resources, and those serving low-income, historically disinvested neighborhoods. The Community Storefront Anchors program is focused on supporting long-running businesses and those that contribute to the culture and vibrancy of San Francisco and its commercial corridors.
San Francisco Community Investment Loan Program -- $7.3 million
This new loan program, to be launched in May, is aimed at supporting businesses by providing working capital, especially to those left out of existing relief programs. To meet the overwhelming need created by COVID-19, during the past year, the City has successfully leveraged investments to maximize available loans to small businesses. Working with our State-backed lending partners and local community-based partners, the City will leverage additional funding to offer San Francisco small businesses very low to zero-interest loans ranging up to $100,000.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the City of San Francisco has provided immediate and ongoing support for small businesses, including an investment of more than $24 million in grants and loans to more than 1,300 small businesses, 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 the Mayor to waive $5 million in fees and taxes for entertainment and nightlife venues and small restaurants, meaning that businesses that receive a waiver do not have to pay back the fees at a later date.
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. Lastly, 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.