Small businesses shaping our city’s future

Every day across San Francisco, small-business owners and their employees are shaping the character of our city.

As I walk the neighborhoods and visit merchants along San Bruno Avenue in the Portola district, Third Street in the Bayview district, Geary Boulevard in the Richmond district, or mid-Market Street and the Tenderloin, I learn about each community’s vision for its neighborhood, and I am reminded of the positive impact small businesses have on our city.

With demand for our locally manufactured products growing here and expanding globally, it’s clear that in San Francisco, small is actually big.

Small businesses make up 95 percent of all businesses in San Francisco. That’s why we come together during San Francisco Small Business Week to highlight and celebrate the incredible contributions of the small-business community. Now in its 10th year, San Francisco Small Business Week (Monday through May 17), with a series of educational and networking events, recognizes and supports small businesses and our residents.

In honor of this milestone, I have also selected a group of businesses that reflect the diversity and innovation of our community. Join me in congratulating Ichi Sushi and NI Bar, Selecta Auto Body, Hayes Valley BakeWorks, Hampton Creek Foods, Electric Bicycle Super Store and Triple Voodoo Brewery during Small Business Week.

This week, we have been celebrating the people behind our locally made products for SFMade Week. I just attended the SFMade fifth annual Ramp It Up! fundraiser to praise our diverse local manufacturing industry, where products “Made in San Francisco” are produced by more than 4,000 workers driving $395 million into our economy.

San Francisco’s commitment to small businesses and local manufacturing continues to gain momentum. Invest in Neighborhoods is an initiative I launched nearly two years ago to provide focused, customized assistance that meets the specific needs of San Francisco’s neighborhood commercial corridors. It has provided over 30 neighborhood grants to promote, beautify and activate our neighborhoods; provided more than 300 businesses with technical assessments so they can comply with American with Disabilities Act standards; administered 230 loans totaling nearly $5.9 million to help create and retain nearly 550 jobs; and helped 24 local businesses with facade and tenant improvements.

Together, the Office of Small Business and the Jobs Squad have assisted over 4,000 businesses with licensing and permitting requirements and other small-business needs.

Let’s celebrate our small-business community and the thousands of dedicated individuals who work hard every day to share those only-in-San Francisco experiences with us. Small businesses truly make our city extraordinary.

For more information on Small Business Week, SFMade and Invest in Neighborhoods, visit www.sfsmallbusinessweek.com, www.sfmade.org and www.InvestSF.org.

Ed Lee is the mayor of San Francisco.op-edOpinionSan Francisco Small Business WeekSan Francisco small businessesSFMade

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