[ Article originally appeared in https://sfmayor.org ]
Individuals and organizations can apply now with proposals to support small business stabilization and activate commercial neighborhoods
Mayor London N. Breed and the Office of Economic Workforce Development (OEWD) today announced $11.4 million in funding to launch and implement economic recovery initiatives. The funding will support the stabilization and growth of small businesses and San Francisco-based nonprofits, while boosting cultural celebrations and events that attract residents and tourists to the City’s commercial areas. It will also continue to support COVID-19 Resource Hubs for wrap-around workforce and other essential services in vulnerable communities.
As part of the City’s economic recovery, the investment will provide community organizations funding to recruit new businesses, train and establish new and existing entrepreneurs, develop new programming, organize festivals and events, and offer technical assistance to small businesses.
The funding will be made available through an open Requests for Proposals (RFP) process. Submissions are due May 19. Organizations selected for the awards are scheduled to be announced mid-June. Individuals seeking to apply for the RFP can visit here www.oewd.org/bid-opportunities/RFP-223.
“The pandemic has had a significant impact on our neighborhood corridors, and although we have made strides with our economic recovery, we still have work to do to get back to where we want to be,” said Mayor Breed. “This funding not only provides much-needed financial support to our city’s merchant corridors during a time when so many people are eager to be out, but it offers our cultural institutions another opportunity to showcase San Francisco’s incredible diversity to both residents and visitors. As we reopen and work to ensure an equitable recovery, we are also continuing to fund our Community Resource Hubs, which have filled essential needs for so many who have struggled so much during this pandemic.”
The RFP process will also leverage $1 million in state funds to support Asian Pacific Islander (API) neighborhood commercial recovery. Efforts under these areas will focus on boosting resources to community partners to provide linguistically and culturally-oriented small business technical assistance with an emphasis in densely populated API commercial districts such as historic Chinatown, Japantown, Little Saigon, SOMA Pilipinas, the Sunset and the Richmond.
The funding was secured by San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu during his tenure as Assemblymember.
“For over two years, API small businesses throughout San Francisco have had to grapple with both the economic impact of the pandemic and a disturbing surge in anti-Asian violence,” said City Attorney David Chiu. “I want to thank the API Council, Chinese Chamber of Commerce, SF Chinatown Merchants Association, Japantown Merchants Association of SF, SOMA Pilipinas and many other business, nonprofit and community leaders who worked with me when I was in the State Legislature to deliver resources that will revitalize API small businesses decimated by COVID-19 and racism.”
In addition to investments for the business community, the RRP will also continue to provide funding for the operation of COVID-19 Resource Hubs in the Bayview Hunters Point, Excelsior, Mission and Visitacion Valley. Theses hubs offer essential services to residents including referrals and access to employment assistance, job placement, trainings, housing public benefits, mental wellness, food, and many other COVID-19 resources.
“We’re excited to see the return of residents and visitors to our commercial corridors. We’re going to continue to build on this momentum with more activities and events that bring entertainment, music, and many other fun favorites to our public spaces, said Kate Sofis, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.
“Over the last two years, COVID-19 Resource Hubs have served over 14,000 community members. We recognize the recovery of our economy means we must continue to provide essential resources to communities that were most impacted by the pandemic and this RFP focuses on ensuring resource hubs remain a lifeline for people who need our services,” said Joshua Arce, Director of Workforce Development for the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.
The RFP covers economic and workforce development programs to support businesses and workers citywide, in addition to providing programming within key commercial corridors including cultural districts and community benefit districts.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Mayor Breed has allocated over $63 million for financial relief that served more than 3,300 small businesses. The financial relief programs were designed to serve micro-businesses that lack access to banking and capital and were created to complement state and federal loan funding. Among the small businesses that were funded, 75% are minority owned.
This fiscal year, COVID-19 Resource Hubs have served over 8,000 community members and are expected to serve a total of 12,000 by the end of June. The Hubs have proven to be a vital resource for immigrant families and limited-English speakers. The communities served were the same communities that were most impacted by COVID-19 – 21% of individuals and families served live in Mission District, 20% in Excelsior District, 20% in Bayview Hunters Point, and 10% in the Tenderloin and South of Market neighborhoods.
About the Office of Economic and Workforce Development
The Office of Economic and Workforce Development advances equitable and shared prosperity for San Franciscans by growing sustainable jobs, supporting businesses of all sizes, creating great places to live and work, and helping everyone achieve economic self-sufficiency. For more information, please visit www.oewd.org.