Lee: Celebrating the Success of Small Business

Every day, as I walk the streets of our dynamic city, merchants, residents, and visitors tell me what they love most about our city — the charm of the historic North Beach Bar, the lively conversations of their Leland Avenue salon, the craft of the local manufacturer in Bernal Heights, and the leadership of a merchant association in the Excelsior, all of whom strive to make our neighborhoods better places to live, work, and play.

In San Francisco, where small businesses makes up 95 percent of all businesses they are shaping the character and culture of our city.

With great pride, we come together to celebrate the incredible contributions of the small business community during the 11th Annual San Francisco Small Business Week (May 16-22) where a series of educational and networking events recognize and support our small businesses and the people behind our locally made products.

This year, in honor of the thousands of small businesses that drive our economy, create local jobs, innovate and inspire our communities, we recognize both small businesses and those who help them thrive. They include The Market, Sun Rise Restaurant, Vesuvio Café, Body, Soul & Spirit Salon, the Excelsior Outer Mission Merchants, and the organizers of Dancing on Waverly. I would like to commend them for their contribution to our city’s growth, culture, and diversity.

As my Invest in Neighborhoods initiative enters its third year, let’s take a moment to reflect on some select accomplishments achieved in partnership with community groups throughout San Francisco.

We awarded more than $4 million in grants to 115 neighborhood projects that support small businesses, strengthen neighborhoods and build community capacity all over the City.

We’ve provided 385 American with Disabilities Act Assessments for small businesses, given $1.8 million in façade and tenant improvements, and have given $12 million in small business loans to 460 San Francisco businesses, directly impacting the creation of 875 jobs. 

Our commitment to small business continues to grow stronger. In order to provide assistance to those who are interested in starting their own business in the City, we launched the business portal website last fall. Since then, more than 16,000 users visited businessportal.sfgov.org and learned how to transform a great idea into a successful business.

Let’s celebrate our small business community and the thousands of dedicated individuals who make our city truly extraordinary by working hard every day to share with us those only in San Francisco experiences. Check out the websites to learn more about sfsmallbusinessweek.com and InvestSF.org.

Ed Lee is mayor of San Francisco.

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