San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a new program that provides loans of up to $100,000 to businesses recovering from the pandemic’s effects. (Daniel Montes/Bay City News)

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a new program that provides loans of up to $100,000 to businesses recovering from the pandemic’s effects. (Daniel Montes/Bay City News)

City launches largest loan program yet for businesses struggling to recover post pandemic

A new program will provide zero percent interest loans of up $100,000 to small businesses in San Francisco as they continue to recover from the pandemic, Mayor London Breed said Thursday.

The SF Small Business Recovery Loan Fund, which began accepting applications on Thursday, seeks to reach small businesses that didn’t qualify for existing relief programs and that face barriers to acquiring capital.

“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,” Breed said in a statement. “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.”

The new program is made possible through leveraged investments from state-backed and community lending partners, creating the largest small business loan program Th City has offered to date.

According to city officials, the program is urgently needed to lift the local economy and help businesses that continue to struggle, despite the state reopening last month. A recent report from the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce found that as much as 50 percent of The City’s businesses remain closed even though COVID-19-related restrictions have been lifted.

“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,” San Francisco Office of Economic Workforce and Development Director Kate Sofis said. “Our small businesses need a continued, concerted effort to help them rebuild and reopen safely.”

The latest program is part of a bigger effort to provide immediate and ongoing support for small businesses, including providing $52.8 million in grants and loans to support more than 3,000 businesses, as well as tens of millions of dollars in fee and tax deferrals and help applying for state and federal funding programs.

Small businesses can apply for The City’s latest loan program online at caloanfund.org.

— Bay City News

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