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Main Street Launch: Sufficient Cash Flow can be the Difference between Staying in Business and Closing

#SFSBW2017 asked some of our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Main Street Launch. What is your Company’s Mission? Our mission is to create economic opportunity by empowering entrepreneurs with capital, education, and relationships that allow them to flourish, create jobs, and stimulate economic development in low-to-moderate income communities. How does your organization support and engage the small business community? Since 1979, Main Street Launch has provided capital, education, and relationships to aspiring and existing small business owners. In the last five years, we have provided 316 companies with over $32 million in loan capital. These companies have created and sustained over 2600 jobs in our communities. What tools and resources has your organization created to help […]


#SFSBW2017: It’s Time to Invest in You

Because you’re investing in San Francisco as a business owner, we want to invest in you! Being a small business owner is no easy task, but San Francisco is home to a wealth of resources and organizations that offer free services to help you achieve your vision and increase your odds of long-term business success. San Francisco Small Business Week is THE opportunity to connect with business resources, community leaders, and attend free workshops. Stand with city organizations and small business resources dedicated to your success! Access workshops at the Small Business Conference all week! Check out the schedule of amazing topics below. Find tools, resources and support at the Small Business Conference, held this year throughout the week to allow you even more access to a wide range of […]


Registration is Open For San Francisco Small Business Week 2017!

San Francisco has always been a dynamic and vibrant city by the Bay. Filled with dreamers and doers, a rich mixture of people that believe in the power of community. Second only to the views are our business owners who provide vibrancy, diversity and growth at all corners of our city. This week is in celebration of you – our small business owners. Standing with you are the local chambers of commerce, merchant associations, nonprofits and city, state and federal agencies. This week, they want to thank you for all that you do for San Francisco. During San Francisco Small Business Week, we invite you to join us and celebrate the city we have built. We want to meet you, and make sure you are connecting with other business owners, […]


“Surround Yourself with People Who Believe In You” #SFSBW2016 Interview: Working Solutions

#SFSBW2016 asked our business resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Working Solutions. What is your organizations mission? Working Solutions invests in the success of local businesses one microloan at a time by financing businesses that are ineligible for a bank loan with $5,000-$50,000 and offering each borrower up to 5 years of free business consulting and advising after their loans are funded. What are your organizations recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community? In March, Working Solutions celebrated 17 years of helping local small businesses achieve their dreams. We recently surpassed $10 million lent or granted to Bay Area business owners, who have created or retained over 1,400 jobs. We are […]


San Francisco Small Business Week 2016 Was A Success!

San Francisco Small Business Week was an exceptional and inspiring week for the City of San Francisco. For the 12th annual year we hosted events, workshops and engaged small businesses to find new opportunities, get connected, and achieve success. Beginning with Flavors of SF on Monday, May 23rd through the Small Business Conference on Thursday, May 26th, we created numerous opportunities for networking and education while honoring and inspiring a diverse array of small businesses throughout San Francisco. Thank you to all of our 2016 sponsors for making this event possible! We’d especially like to thank Bank of America for joining us as the Presenting Sponsor, Comcast Business for joining us as the Small Business Conference host, and San Francisco Office of Small Business for joining us as the Flavors of […]


“Vet Your Idea, Test Your Market and Tread Carefully” #SFSBW2016 Interview: La Cocina

#SFSBW2016 asked our business resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from La Cocina. What is your organizations mission? La Cocina provides affordable commercial kitchen space and hands-on technical assistance to low-income and immigrant women entrepreneurs who are launching, growing and formalizing food businesses. What are your organizations recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community? Now in its 10th year, La Cocina has graduated over 20 businesses, with 18 brick and mortar locations throughout the Bay Area. At a time when commercial real estate continues to be inaccessible, Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas secured and moved into a tamale factory, D’Maize opened their restaurant on 24th Street, and El Buen Comer will open on […]


“Be Clear About Your Mission, Your Vision, and Your Values” #SFSBW2016 Interview: ICA Fund Good Jobs

#SFSBW2016 asked our business resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from ICA Fund Good Jobs. What is your organization’s mission? We work high-growth small business to create accessible good jobs. We believe that successful businesses start with good employers and we are committed to educating, accelerating, and investing in good job-creating local businesses. What are your organization’s recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community? Last year we invested in two local companies, Firebrand Artisan Breads and Red Bay Coffee, bringing our total invested amount to over $2,000,000. We invest in high-growth companies that are committed to providing good jobs and that have gone through our education and accelerator programs. What tools and […]


San Francisco Small Business Week – Thank You and Your Feedback

Thank you for your participation in San Francisco Small Business Week! We hope you had a great experience and walked away with new contacts, new ideas, and resources to help strengthen and grow your Small Business. Let’s give a huge thanks to our sponsors, host and resource organizations who offered their time, support and expertise in creating a meaningful experience for attendees. We would like to hear from you about your experience throughout the week! Your feedback helps us plan our activities for next year and lets our sponsors know that you appreciate their support of these events. Please click the link below to give us your feedback. Thank you for completing the following brief survey: San Francisco Small Business Week 2016 Survey Thank you again for joining us and […]


“Control your own destiny, grow your business and build equity for your future!” #SFSBW2016 Interview: TMC Financing

#SFSBW2016 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from TMC Financing. What is your company’s mission? TMC provides owner-occupied commercial real estate financing to Bay Area businesses through the SBA 504 loan program. Own your building with as little as 10 percent down at below-market, long-term, FIXED interest rates. How does your organization support and engage the small business community? TMC Financing is the No. 1 SBA 504 lender in Northern California. TMC has the fastest loan turnaround time at SBA among our peers. We have helped more than 5,000 businesses buy, build or renovate commercial real estate projects totally more than $8 billion in California and Nevada. What tools and resources has your organization created […]


“Don’t Be Afraid to Use Social Media for Marketing” #SFSBW2016 Interview: Shop and Dine in the 49

#SFSBW2016 asked our business resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Shop and Dine in the 49. What is your organizations mission? Shop and Dine in the 49 is a buy local initiative that encourages residents and visitors to shop locally. What are your organizations recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community? Shop and Dine in the 49 partnered with the Super Bowl to highlight local neighborhoods, via Super Communities. Seven neighborhoods organized events in their communities which invited residents and guests of San Francisco to explore and celebrate. What tools and resources has your organization created to help small businesses tap into new opportunities to reach new customers, increase their revenue, […]


“Understand Your Competition and Define What Makes You Unique” #SFSBW2016 Interview: Wells Fargo

#SFSBW2016 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Steve Ward, SVP – Small Business Segment Manager at Wells Fargo. What is your company’s mission? We want to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. How does your organization support and engage the small business community? We are a proactive member of the small business community.  We have over 40 stores placed throughout the many neighborhoods of San Francisco placing us firmly in the center of the small business community.  Our Small Business Specialists take the time to understand the goals and needs of your individual business and match the solutions necessary to help your business be successful.  We also have over 8000 […]


“Small businesses have a wealth of information, technology and tools available to help them compete with larger businesses” #SFSBW2016 Interview: Comcast Business

#SFSBW2016 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Comcast Business. What is your company’s mission? Comcast Business provides business-grade products, services, and expertise to meet the complex and diverse demands of businesses, through a next-generation network that is backed by 24/7 technical support. Comcast Business is Built for Business. How does your organization support and engage the small business community? Comcast NBC Universal started as a small business 50 years ago and we honor those roots by bringing together entrepreneurship, technology and innovation.  In 2016, Comcast Business provided programs like Innovations 4 Entrepreneurs, the Tomorrow Tour, the Comcast Business Community and many local events and activities to help small businesses be more productive. What tools […]


#SFSBW2016: Congratulations to 2016 Small Business Awardees

Every year during San Francisco Small Business Week, Mayor Ed Lee’s and the Board of Supervisors, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the San Francisco Economic Development Alliance come together to award small businesses who inspire others or exemplify excellence. We’d like to take a moment to congratulate all of those organizations. We hope you’ll join us this week to celebrate these small businesses, and the thousands of other small businesses who continue to shape our communities and keep San Francisco a world-class city! U.S. Small Business Administration 2016 National Small Business of the Year Helen Russell, Equator Coffee and Tea U.S. Small Business Administration 2016 Emerging Business Nona Lim, Noma Lim Mayor Ed Lee’s 2016 Small Business Week Honorees Local Hire: Gus’s Community Market Community Leadership: San Francisco Federal […]


“Customize Your Hiring” #SFSBW2016 Interview: Office of Economic and Workforce Development

#SFSBW2016 asked our business resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD). What is your organization’s mission? The Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s (OEWD) mission is simple – we support the ongoing economic vitality of San Francisco. Under the direction of Mayor Edwin M. Lee, OEWD provides city-wide leadership for workforce development, business attraction and retention, neighborhood commercial revitalization, international business and development planning. What are your organizations recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community? OEWD coordinates the San Francisco Workforce Development System, which strives to ensure that San Francisco has a qualified workforce that attracts, retains and expands industries, and enhances the quality of […]


The 12th Annual San Francisco Small Business Week Starts Today!

As nearly one of 80,000 small businesses and startups in San Francisco, your business has a tremendous impact on your community and the city’s economic vitality. Together, we create an innovative and vibrant San Francisco. Know that your business is an important part of our community and neighborhood, and without it, San Francisco would not be the same. This week is for you! Here are some ways to tap into opportunity! Go talk to your neighbors. There are awesome business people in this city who also want your neighborhood to thrive! Get smarter. Learn how the future shops and what they want. You get out what you put in. Partner with the chamber/ merchant association/ nonprofit that gets what you do and can help you accomplish your goal. We hope you’ll […]


“Take ownership of your finances. You’ll be glad you did.” #SFSBW2016 Interview: Capital Access Group

#SFSBW2016 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Capital Access Group. What is your company’s mission? We power growing small businesses through commercial real estate financing. How does your organization support and engage the small business community? Capital Access Group is deeply involved in supporting the San Francisco Bay Area small business community through sponsorships, workshops, and mentoring services with a variety of economic development organizations. We partner with the NorCal Small Business Development Center, NAWBO, and the Golden Gate Business Association to provide lending seminars to teach small business owners about the advantages of owning a building for their business. We support the Napa Valley College Youth Entrepreneurship Program’s (YEP) annual business plan competition. […]


“Creating a World without Waste” #SFSBW2016 Interview: Recology

#SFSBW2016 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Recology. What is your company’s mission? Recology is San Francisco’s recycling, compost, and landfill collector; our mission is to create a world without waste. We pride ourselves on customer service, environment-focused practices, innovative processing techniques, educational outreach, community involvement, and a focus on protecting people and planet by reducing material sent to the landfill. How does your organization support and engage the small business community? Recology partners with business organizations throughout San Francisco, including the San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations, Potrero Hill Dog Patch Merchant Association, the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro, the South of Market Business Association, the South Beach Mission Bay Business […]


“We Strive to Help Small Businesses Achieve Greatness” #SFSBW2016 Interview: U.S. Bank

#SFSBW2016 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from U.S. Bank. What is your company’s mission? U.S. Bank’s purpose statement: We invest our hearts and minds to power human potential. How does your organization support and engage the small business community? Our goal is provide a better choice for every financial need that our clients may have, from business banking to home mortgage and investments to name a few. We are involved with many organizations that support small business in San Francisco and the Bay Area, including Opportunity Fund, Working Solutions, SF Made, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, Centro Community Partners.  And we are one of the leading SBA lenders in the […]


“Reduce both your environmental impact and your bottom line” #SFSBW2016 Interview: San Francisco Green Business Program

#SFSBW2016 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from the San Francisco Green Business Program. What is your company’s mission? Our mission is to help small to medium sized businesses reduce their environmental impact and their bottom line. We then publicly recognize them for their green efforts to help customers shop in keeping with their values. How does your organization support and engage the small business community? We help small businesses in many ways, from free environmental consulting to connecting them with City services, resources and rebates. SF Green Business recognition comes with a certificate signed by the Mayor, use of our program logo and stickers showing they are an SF Green Business, online directory listings, […]


“Be Open To Change” #SFSBW2016 Interview: Staffly

#SFSBW2016 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Staffly. What is your company’s mission? Staffly is a new staffing service that is 100% focused on Retail Staffing. As your retail staffing experts, we focus on recruiting, screening, and hiring great people and matching them to your store. It’s all we do—so you don’t have to. How does your organization support and engage the small business community? In the last 6-months since starting Staffly, we’ve had the opportunity to work with over 120 San Francisco Retailers.  We learned that independent retailers are struggling to attract and retain qualified staff for their stores. Staffly solves this by employing over 450 vetted and qualified retail workers who are […]


Make The Most Out Of #SFSBW2016

Sometimes the best things in life are the unexpected. There are many positive outcomes from participating in San Francisco Small Business Week, but the best are the unplanned moments of inspiration. It may just be the spark that you needed to challenge yourself, try something new, or reaffirm that you are on your path to success. Come and get inspired next week! We pulled some quotes from just a few of the organizations who will be with us next week. Come meet these resources at San Francisco Small Business Week! You won’t want to miss this opportunity to get connected with the city organizations and small business resources that are dedicated to your success. US Small Business Administration (Read Interview) “My best advice is to get advice. Take advantage of the broad network […]


“Continuity Support is essential for SF Small Businesses” #SFSBW2016 Interview: USF Gellert Family Business Resource Center

#SFSBW2016 asked our business resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from USF Gellert Family Business Resource Center. What is your organization’s mission? The University of San Francisco’s Gellert Family Business Resource Center annually recognizes two family-owned businesses, providing them with support and resources to strengthen various aspects of their operations. What are your organization’s recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community? The USF Gellert Family Business Center and USF students actively engaged in education and advocacy in connection with the November 2015 passage of Proposition J. This resulted in providing funding for legacy businesses to draw upon for various business enhancements including building acquisition. The USF Gellert Center has just announced its […]


“Small Businesses Are the Heroes of Our Communities” #SFSBW2016 Interview: Visa

#SFSBW2016 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Janet Zablock with Visa. What is your company’s mission? Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments. We operate one of the world’s most advanced processing networks — VisaNet — that is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. How does your organization support and engage the small business community? Visa works to bring small businesses access to solutions to manage their cash flow. Our business debit and credit solutions; inclusive of reporting […]


“We are committed to helping small business owners be positioned for success” #SFSBW2016 Interview: Bank of America

#SFSBW2016 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Emily Shanks, Small Business Western Regional Executive at Bank of America at Bank of America. What is your company’s mission? To simplify banking and make financial lives better. How does your organization support and engage the small business community? With more than three million small business clients, we provide personalized expertise and resources to help small business owners grow and expand their businesses.   We do this through a comprehensive network of small business bankers, client managers and phone, video and chat specialists who provide banking, credit and cash management solutions to meet the unique, and long-term needs of small businesses. We take the time to learn about […]


“San Francisco truly supports small business” #SFSBW2016 Interview: Office of Small Business

#SFSBW2016 asked our business resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from the Office of Small Business. What is your organizations mission? The Office of Small Business along with the San Francisco Business Portal function as the City’s central point of information to assist small businesses by providing direct services through customized one-on-one assistance, collaborations with other City agencies and referrals to various small business resources to help San Francisco businesses succeed and flourish. What are your organizations recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community? Office of Small Business in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and the Department of Technology launched The San Francisco Business Portal, […]


Eat, Drink and Connect at Flavors of San Francisco!

Join us Monday, May 23rd, from 5:30pm – 8:30pm as we kick-off a week dedicated to San Francisco’s small businesses. Flavors of SF is the largest small business networking event of the year. Meet and mingle with more than 1,200 small business owners and community leaders. Connect with 34 Small Busines Resources, 10 Government Resources and 28 Sponsors. And savor and sample food, wine and beer from 37 outstanding local restaurants, catering companies and bars. Located in the City View Room at the Metreon, come connect with the San Francisco Small Business Community, Small Business Resources, Government Resources, and #SFSBW2016 Sponsors that are here to help you succeed! We look forward to Celebrating Small Business with you and helping you Tap into the Opportunity! Check out the list of restaurants, […]


“We Provide Instant Decisions For Your Business” #SFSBW2016 Interview: Kabbage Inc.

#SFSBW2016 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Kabbage. What is your company’s mission? Through its data and technology platform, Kabbage Inc. provides fully automated funding to small businesses. Customers apply online in minutes to connect existing business information generated through accounting data, online sales, shipping and dozens of other sources. Kabbage provides an instant decision and gives qualified small businesses ongoing access to lines of credit up to $100,000. How does your organization support and engage the small business community? Kabbage is very active in the small business community. We work with various organizations to host and sponsor events that educate small businesses on financing options in addition to other resources such as marketing. […]


“We Can’t Over-Emphasize the Value of Mentorship” #SFSBW2016 Interview: Pacific Community Ventures

#SFSBW2016 asked our business resource partners to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Pacific Community Ventures. What is your organization’s mission? Pacific Community Ventures is a nonprofit social enterprise that engages small businesses, investors and policymakers to build an economy that works for everyone. What are your organization’s recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community? In 2015, we provided 237 small businesses with access to capital and pro bono mentorship. Companies working with us had 14% job growth — surpassing national (2%) and state (3%) rates — and 64% of those jobs went to workers living in low- or moderate-income communities. We also lent $943,000 to small business that couldn’t access the traditional […]


“The Chamber is a one-stop shop for my small business needs”. #SFSBW2016 Interview: San Francisco Chamber of Commerce

#SFSBW2016 asked our business resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. What is your organizations mission? The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce attracts, supports and grows business through advocacy, economic development, and business development. What are your organizations recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community? The San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations and San Francisco Chamber of Commerce recently entered into a partnership providing Chamber memberships to all Council of District Merchant Associations members. The goal of the partnership is to expand the Chamber’s footprint into the various merchant corridors and offer Chamber memberships to a diverse representation of small businesses located across San Francisco. […]


“Consumers Are More Connected Than Ever” #SFSBW2016 Interview: YP

#SFSBW2016 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Matt Condensa, Executive Market Manager at YP. What is your company’s mission? YP is a leading local marketing solutions provider, dedicated to helping local businesses and communities grow. With nearly 70 million users across YP properties, we help connect local businesses with consumers wherever they are, on whatever device or medium they use. We’re the #2 local search destination in the US, delivering an audience that’s 20 percent more likely to follow through with a purchase. Our marketing solutions are backed by more than 4,000 local media consultants and customer service professionals in local cities across the country. How does your organization support and engage the small […]


“Renaissance’s Business Planning class is frequently called the mini-MBA” #SFSBW2016 Interview: Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center

#SFSBW2016 asked our business resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center. What is your organizations mission? Renaissance provides the intensive training, access to resources, networks and ongoing support all entrepreneurs need to succeed. What are your organizations recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community? In 2015 alone Renaissance has helped over 650 entrepreneurs to start and grow their own thriving businesses. What tools and resources has your organization created to help small businesses tap into new opportunities to reach new customers, increase their revenue, and grow their business? Renaissance provides intensive 4 – 12 week training classes and workshops, business incubation, individual consulting, networking, access to business capital and […]


Get Smarter at the San Francisco Small Business Week!

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but there is such a thing as free advice! San Francisco hosts a wealth of resources and organizations that offer free services to help you achieve your vision and increase your odds of long-term business success. San Francisco Small Business Week is THE opportunity to connect with business resources, community leaders, and attend free workshops. Stand with city organizations and small business resources dedicated to your success! Attend the Small Business Conference: 43 Free Cutting Edge Workshops Join this free event with 43 workshops on topics that will help you build and grow your business. Don’t see a topic you’re interested in, let us know and we’ll try to book it for next year! And a special thank you to all of […]


“Building Better Neighborhoods One Business at a Time” #SFSBW2016 Interview: Urban Solutions

#SFSBW2016 asked our business resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Urban Solutions. What is your organizations mission? Our mission is to strengthen underserved neighborhoods by supporting small businesses, job creation, diversity and sustainability. What are your organizations recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community? Over 20 years, Urban Solutions has built a reputation for being a leader in the economic revitalization of two underserved San Francisco neighborhoods, South of Market and the Western Addition, working in partnership with the City, corporate supporters like the Bank of America Foundation, community leaders, and the neighborhood small business community. In total, we have assisted more than 6,000 small business clients. We have helped small […]


“Do not be afraid to ask for and accept help and support” #SFSBW2016 Interview: Main Street Launch

#SFSBW2016 asked our business resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Main Street Launch (formerly OBDC Small Business Finance) What is your organizations mission? Our mission is to create economic opportunity by empowering entrepreneurs with capital, education, and relationships that allow them to flourish, create jobs, and stimulate economic development in low-to-moderate income communities. What are your organizations recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community? Since 1979, Main Street Launch (formerly OBDC Small Business Finance), has provided capital, education, and relationships to aspiring and existing small business owners. In the last five years, we have provided 325 companies with over $27 million in loan capital. These companies have created and sustained over […]


Making Entrepreneurial Dreams a Reality #SFSBW2016 Interview: Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)

#SFSBW2016 asked our business resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Christopher Gil, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA). What is your organizations mission? Rooted in the Mission and focused on San Francisco, MEDA’s mission is to strengthen low- and moderate-income Latino families by promoting economic equity and social justice through asset building and community development. What are your organizations recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community? MEDA worked with the 36 community-serving businesses displaced by the fire at Mission and 22nd streets Jan. 28, 2015. Also, MEDA’s community lending arm – Adelante Fund – is a vehicle for MEDA to provide vital capital and lending options to […]


Get ready for #SFSBW by celebrating National Small Business Week! May 1-7 #DreamSmallBiz

Every year, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. While San Francisco Small Business Week falls unders the National Small Business Week umbrella, it is held a few weeks after. So, check out everything happening this week for National Small Business Week nationally and in Oakland and San Jose (May 1-7). And then get ready for the largest Small Business Week celebration in the country happening in San Francisco (May 21-28) in just a few weeks! National Small Business Week (May […]


“My best advice is get advice.” #SFSBW2016 Interview: U.S. Small Business Administration

#SFSBW2016 asked our business resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Mark Quinn, District Director, US Small Business Administration in San Francisco What is your organizations mission? The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.   What are your organizations recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community? The SBA has many local accomplishments. Over 120 banks, credit unions and community lenders participated in various SBA loan programs. Annually, the San Francisco District Office cohosts […]


Tap Into SF Small Business Week & Register Today!

Once again the city by the Bay will host the largest Small Business Week celebration in 2016. We are excited to open registration for the 12th Annual San Francisco Small Business Week! This event will connect you with the larger small business community and organizations dedicated to your success. Join with us, dozens of city organizations and small business resources that are dedicated to your success. Stand with our chambers, merchant associations, and engage the small business development organizations and city, state and federal agencies that want to help you. They share knowledge, provide support and help small businesses learn the ropes and grow into successful thriving members of the San Francisco community. These resources are available year round, and you can meet them all in person during San Francisco […]


Announcing the 2016 Small Business Conference workshop schedule!

San Francisco Small Business Week (SFSBW) is proud to support and honor small businesses. And one of the most exciting parts of this collaborative partnership with the city’s small business community is the Small Business Conference and Expo. At this free conference on May 26th at San Francisco Community College’s North Beach/Chinatown Campus there will be more than 40 workshops for small business owners covering a range of topics including business, finance, individual development, marketing and procurement. And today we are excited to announce the list of including conference workshops for 2016! Please note that registration will open April 25th. There is limited seating so advance registration is recommended. Please see our events page for the list of workshops available to help you get started, get bigger and tap into […]


San Francisco Small Business Week 2016: May 21-28, 2016

We’re very excited to announce the dates of San Francisco Small Business Week 2016 will happen the week of May 21-28, 2016. We’re already deep in the planning for Flavors of San Francisco on Monday, May 23, 2016 and the Small Business Conference on Thursday, May 26, 2016. More events and information will be announced in the coming months. Please direct all inquires about participation or other information to info@sfsmallbusinessweek.com.


Highlights from the #SFSBW2015 blog

Many thanks to the small business owners, nonprofit organizations, and sponsors who contributed to the #SFSBW2015 blog. Here’s our highlight reel with some of the gems from our 2015 interviews. What is it about running a small business brings you joy and satisfaction?             “I love speaking to my customers and meeting them in person. It’s really great for me to see total strangers who know my story, support my brand, and volunteer as brand ambassadors because of their love for our products. We have customers from the very beginning who have seen Bread SRSLY through growth spurts and production changes – being able to retain them through thick and thin is the biggest compliment I could want.” – Sadie Scheffer, Owner, Bread SRSLY. “At a larger firm, tasks are more […]


ProLocal and the San Francisco Council of District Merchants Invite You to Go Into The ‘Hoods…

Small Business Week 2015 may be over, but that doesn’t mean the champions are done celebrating. This year we added a new event to the week’s official line up. The Champions Mixer, co-hosted by SFEDA, SFCDMA, and ProLocal, took center stage as Thursday’s main event. The night was a celebration of small business and the Champions who support their success. Guests mingled with merchant associations, chambers, small business development organizations and got the very first glimpse of San Francisco’s first citywide mobile tour app, exclusively featuring local businesses from our local ‘hoods. Into the ‘Hoods aims to give tourists the content that they want: A true local’s experience for shopping, dining, and exploring San Francisco in neighborhoods that are off the typical tourist’s beaten path. Consisting of a printed map and […]


“Be open to change and seek advice.” #SFSBW2015 Interview with Clairesquares

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Claire Keane, Owner, Clairesquares. Tell us about your business in one sentence. We are a San Francisco based confectionary company making artisan Irish sweet treats. San Francisco is changing, and the small business customer base is changing. What changes are you seeing in your customer base?  More and more of our customers are trying to be educated about the ingredients in the food they eat. Whether it’s because of health concerns (i.e. gluten intolerance) or lifestyle choice (i.e. veganism, vegetarianism, paleo, etc), most people seek transparency when reading labels and ask questions about our ingredient profiles regularly. What […]


“Bridging the Small Business Tech Divide, and much more!” #SFSBW2015 Interview with Urban Solutions

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Steve McCoy-Thompson, Executive Director, Urban Solutions. Tell us about your organization in one sentence. For over 20 years, Urban Solutions has developed small businesses and healthy neighborhoods with a comprehensive set of leasing support, loan packaging and small business training and mentoring programs. What is your organization doing to help small business owners navigate today’s increasingly competitive marketplace? We are working on several fronts. With licensed real estate brokers, we help entrepreneurs negotiate fair leases and move into challenging neighborhoods to help stabilize those communities. This is critical when rents are rising everywhere. We help with access to capital […]


Highlights from the #SFSBW2015 blog

Many thanks to the small business owners, nonprofit organizations, and sponsors who contributed to the #SFSBW2015 blog. Here’s our highlight reel with some of the gems from our 2015 interviews. What is it about running a small business brings you joy and satisfaction?             “I love speaking to my customers and meeting them in person. It’s really great for me to see total strangers who know my story, support my brand, and volunteer as brand ambassadors because of their love for our products. We have customers from the very beginning who have seen Bread SRSLY through growth spurts and production changes – being able to retain them through thick and thin is the biggest compliment I could want.” – Sadie Scheffer, Owner, Bread SRSLY. “At a larger firm, tasks are more […]


Technology is an engine for business growth. #SFSBW2015 Interview with Comcast Business

#SFSBW2015 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we talk to Frank Ortiz, Director Small Business Sales, Comcast Business. What is your company’s mission? Comcast Business offers Ethernet, Internet, Wi-Fi, TV and Voice solutions to help organizations of all sizes transform their business with gigabit speeds and the most advanced communications technologies. Today’s hyper-competitive marketplace is presenting new challenges and opportunities to many businesses. Has your company changed its approach to doing business to address the changing market? If so, how? Yes, Comcast Business is committed to delivering on the promise of providing customers the most reliable data, voice, and TV services that consistently exceed expectations. Part of this process involves identifying the needs of our customers and […]


Being green is good for the bottom line. #SFSBW2015 Interview with SF Green Business Program

#SFSBW2015 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Keith Dews, Green Business Aide, San Francisco Green Business Program. What is your organization’s mission? Our mission is to help San Francisco businesses adopt environmental practices that are sustainable as well as profitable. We achieve our mission by setting high environmental criteria, providing technical assistance, and publicly recognizing and promoting Green Businesses. Today’s hyper-competitive marketplace is presenting new challenges and opportunities to many businesses. Has your organization changed its approach to doing business to address the changing market? The opportunity to conduct business in an environmentally friendly way is front and center in today’s changing marketplace. Businesses choose to be green to address customer expectations, save money, and […]


“Creating new communications experiences.” #SFSBW2015 Interview with Ooma

#SFSBW2015 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Jim Gustke, VP of Marketing, Ooma. What is your company’s mission? Creating new communications experiences. Today’s hyper-competitive marketplace is presenting new challenges and opportunities to many businesses. Has your company changed its approach to doing business to address the changing market? More companies require employees to work outside the traditional office- and that requires telecommuting, staying connected while offsite, or catching up from home in the evenings.   Business tools and technologies have made that easier, but small businesses often get the short end of the stick with limited options that don’t offer the flexibility found in expensive enterprise solutions. We’ve built Ooma Office to help small businesses run more efficiently and stay connected from anywhere with enterprise level calling features available at a price small business can afford. What is your company […]


“Strength in numbers!” #SFSBW2015 Interview with the San Francisco Bar Owner Alliance

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Ben Bleiman, Founder, Co-Chair, SF Bar Owner Alliance. Tell us about your organization in one sentence. SF Bar Owner Alliance is a group of bar owners in San Francisco who formed a grassroots community to assist one another. What is your organization doing to help small business owners navigate today’s increasingly competitive marketplace? We share information on everything from produce vendors to lease negotiations to City fees. What is your organization doing to attract and support new and younger small business owners who are starting ou t today? What are you doing to bridge the gap between old and […]


“We work with City Hall to #keepsfweird.” #SFSBW2015 Interview with CMAC, the California Music and Culture Association

to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Ben Bleiman, Co-Chair, CMAC. Tell us about your organization in one sentence. CMAC is the trade group to serve nightlife in SF including bars, clubs, music venues and festivals. What is your organization doing to help small business owners navigate today’s increasingly competitive marketplace? CMAC represents the interests of nightlife providers in SF. Our members include bars, promoters, clubs, music venues and festivals in our fair city. Our members have access to reduced group insurance rates, free legal advice, political power when necessary, reduced cost website services, and a wealth of knowledge to navigating doing business in SF. When not working with our members, we work with City Hall to #keepsfweird and #savesfnightlife […]


Trusted Advisors are Crucial to Entrepreneurs: #SFSBW2015 Interview: Emily Shanks, Bank of America

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we talk to Emily Shanks, Region Executive for the Small Business Banking, Bank of America. Tell me about your organization/role. My title is Small Business Banking Regional Executive for Bank of America.  I lead a team of more than 200 Small Business Banking Managers and Small Business Bankers who are focused on the needs of our small business customers.  My territory includes California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. What is your organization doing to help small business owners navigate today’s increasingly competitive marketplace? I’ve been with Bank of America for more than 25 years, and I’ve seen a lot of innovation and growth […]


Providing accurate information and a delightful experience: #SFSBW2015 Interview with San Francisco Business Portal

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Jane Gong, Program Director of the San Francisco Business Portal. Tell us about your organization in one sentence.  The San Francisco Small Business Portal helps business owners easily navigate the steps to start, manage, and grow a business, quickly learn what it takes to be compliant, and obtain resources along the way. What is your organization doing to help small business owners navigate today’s increasingly competitive marketplace?  Basically, we’re making the process of obtaining permits and following regulations easier, so you can get back to business. For years, prospective business owners have navigated San Francisco’s complex permitting process by searching through various websites […]


Promoting and encouraging people to shop local. #SFSBW2015 Interview with San Francisco Council of District Merchants

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Henry Karnilowicz, President, San Francisco Council of District Merchants. Tell us about your organization in one sentence. In 1953 there was only the Chamber of Commerce which did not include all the merchants in the city thus a group of merchants, under the leadership of Walter Jebbe, got together and formed the Council of District Merchants Associations. What is your organization doing to help small business owners navigate today’s increasingly competitive marketplace? Promoting and encouraging people to shop local. What is your organization doing to attract and support new and younger small business owners who are starting out today? […]


Making the Outer Sunset a destination: #SFSBW2015 Interview with Andytown Coffee Roasters

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Lauren Crabbe, Owner/Founder, Andytown Coffee Roasters. Tell us about your business in one sentence. Andytown Coffee Roasters was founded to bring specialty coffee roasting to the Outer Sunset in San Francisco. Our goal is to make specialty coffee a welcoming, comfortable and extraordinary experience. San Francisco is changing, and the small business customer base is changing. What changes are you seeing in your customer base?  We have only been open for one year, but we have seen our customer base grow from folks who work and live in our neighborhood to people who seek out the Outer Sunset […]


Fueling the success of small business: #SFSBW2015 Interview with TMC Financing

#SFSBW2015 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Rich Grant, Executive Vice President of TMC Financing. What is your company’s mission? We exist to better our communities by fueling the success of small business, like you. We do this by providing U.S. Small Business Administration commercial real estate financing to secure the long-term success of your business – when you succeed, we succeed. Today’s hyper-competitive marketplace is presenting new challenges and opportunities to many businesses. Has your company changed its approach to doing business to address the changing market? In our 30+ years, TMC Financing has witnessed a lot of economic cycles. With SBA lending, when the economy is expanding there are more competing sources of […]


“Small business is the backbone of our economy.” #SFSBW2015 Interview with the Office of Small Business

“Don’t wait until it’s too late. Seek assistance early on. We are here to help you, and there is likely a city resource available to assist with your need.”


“You learn something from everyone you encounter.” #SFSBW2015 Interview with Potluck Consulting

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Rose Souders, CEO, Potluck Consulting. Tell us about your business in one sentence. Potluck Consulting is a Bay Area online marketing company that specializes in strategy and implementation for e-mail marketing, content development (blogging), search engine optimization (SEO), and social media. San Francisco is changing, and the small business customer base is changing. What changes are you seeing in your customer base?  As the online world evolves, so does our marketing needs. A visual content strategy has become the number one concern among many of my clients. There seems to be less of a concern about driving traffic […]


“You have to evolve and anticipate change.” #SFSBW2015 Interview with SF Parking

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Patricia Rodriguez, Managing Member, SF Parking. Tell us about your business in one sentence. Parking management. San Francisco is changing, and the small business customer base is changing. What changes are you seeing in your customer base?  The demographics are heading toward a younger very educated customer base. What specific business strategies have you implemented to build loyalty and enhance your ability to serve the newer generation of customers? My business borders on a commodity in SF, but definitely making payment or access via the internet is where the business is heading. What marketing tactics and strategies have […]


“I call the shots.” #SFSBW2015 Interview with Heklina.

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Heklina, Owner of Oasis. Tell us about your business in one sentence. Nightclub. San Francisco is changing, and the small business customer base is changing. What changes are you seeing in your customer base?  Having just started my business this year, it’s hard to tell about any changes, but I can say that the people coming to my club are a cross-section of old and new San Francisco, young and old, straight and gay. What specific business strategies have you implemented to build loyalty and enhance your ability to serve the newer generation of customers? My business strategy […]


“Speed is of the essence in today’s market.” #SFSBW2015 Interview with Capital Access Group

#SFSBW2015 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Claudia Cohen, Senior Vice President, Capital Access Group. What is your company’s mission? Our mission to help small businesses grow by giving them the opportunity to secure financing to own their own real estate through the SBA’s 504 commercial loan program, which provides capital for the purchase, renovation, or construction of commercial real estate and heavy equipment. Today’s hyper-competitive marketplace is presenting new challenges and opportunities to many businesses. Has your company changed its approach to doing business to address the changing market? Speed is of the essence in today’s market. Capital Access is consistently recognized as the fastest SBA 504 lender for turnaround time on loan approvals […]


“Get Help! When businesses get help, their success rate is 80%.” #SFSBW2015 Interview with CAMEO

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Claudia Viek, CEO, CAMEO – California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity. Tell us about your organization in one sentence. CAMEO is the statewide network of 85 organizations that provide business assistance and loans to 20,000 very small and start-up businesses in diverse communities. What is your organization doing to help small business owners navigate today’s increasingly competitive marketplace? CAMEO advocates on behalf of the smallest businesses (fewer than five employees) and the self-employed to make sure they have the capital and training resources that they need. Microentrepreneurs that have gone through business training programs and received business assistance and […]


Manufacturing is critical to San Francisco’s economic vibrancy: #SFSBW2015 Interview with SFMade

#SFSBW2015 asked the nonprofit organizations that support small businesses throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help businesses flourish in today’s marketplace. Today we hear from Janet Lees, Senior Director, SFMade. Tell us about your organization in one sentence. SFMade supports and promotes over 550 SFMade member companies, all manufacturing their products within the San Francisco City limits. What is your organization doing to help small business owners navigate today’s increasingly competitive marketplace? At the highest level, SFMade’s programs and services are designed to help manufacturing businesses start, grow, and stay in San Francisco. What we are finding particularly challenging in our sector right now are rising real estate prices, filling job vacancies with appropriately skilled workers, and access to new market channels. On the […]


“Creating a digital footprint is critical but complicated.” #SFSBW Interview with YP

#SFSBW2015 asked our sponsors to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Matt Crowley, Senior Vice President, Sales, YP. What is your company’s mission? YP is a leading local marketing solutions provider, dedicated to helping local businesses and communities grow. With more than 70 million users across YP properties, we help connect local businesses with consumers wherever they are, on whatever device or medium they use. Our marketing solutions are backed by more than 4,000 local media consultants and customer service professionals in local cities across the U.S. Today’s hyper-competitive marketplace is presenting new challenges and opportunities to many businesses. Has your company changed its approach to doing business to address the changing market? Consumers are more connected than […]


“Fulfilling our vision one bite at a time.” Interview with Ladera Granola CEO, Brian Tetrud

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Brian Tetrud, Owner, Ladera Granola. Tell us about your business in one sentence. Ladera granola is a natural food manufacturer dedicated to healthy and delicious food. San Francisco is changing, and the small business customer base is changing. What changes are you seeing in your customer base?  Our customer base in San Francisco is growing as the population becomes more focused on quality. Our Granola is typically more nutritious than the traditional ready-to-eat breakfast cereal. San Franciscans are increasingly more aware of the importance of healthy active lifestyles and are seeking our products to fuel their active lives […]


“Family businesses drive the economy.” #SFSBW2015 Interview: USF Gellert Family Business Resource Center

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Monika Hudson, Assistant Professor and Director of the University of San Francisco’s Gellert Family Business Resource Center. Tell us about your organization in one sentence. We provide family-owned businesses with access to networking, create an open exchange of strategic and practical family business information and advance the field of family business research, education, and scholarship. What is your organization doing to help small business owners navigate today’s increasingly competitive marketplace? The University of San Francisco’s Gellert Family Business Resource Center annually recognizes two family-owned businesses, providing them with support and resources to strengthen various aspects of their operations. The Center then […]


“One lesson: narrow your target market” Interview with Robert Friedman, Owner, Fearless Branding

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Robert Friedman, Owner, Fearless Branding. Tell us about your business in one sentence. Driving sales for B2B service firms through brand strategy, market research and websites. San Francisco is changing, and the small business customer base is changing. What changes are you seeing in your customer base?  Doing an excellent job in your field, and “getting out there” are no longer enough to succeed.  Buyers of B2B services have many choices for every purchase decision.  It’s incumbent on every professional to define their company’s value, and their own value, in unique ways – to define a differentiated claim of expertise. […]


“The rewards are gigantic!” #SFSBW2015 Interview: Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center

#SFSBW2015 asked the nonprofit organizations that support small businesses throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help businesses flourish in today’s marketplace. Today we hear from Sharon Miller, CEO, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center Tell us about your organization in one sentence. Renaissance provides entrepreneurship training classes and support services to help San Franciscans start and grow thriving businesses. What is your organization doing to help small business owners navigate today’s increasingly competitive marketplace? Renaissance provides small business owners with comprehensive training, access to capital, business incubation and individual consulting to support them in preparing for, launching and growing their own businesses. We also provide opportunities for emerging business owners to learn first-hand from established businesses and for all business owners to build critical networks with like-minded […]


“We support all business, big and small.” #SFSBW Interview with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and some of the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small businesses flourish in today’s marketplace. Today we hear from Taryn Taddeo, Director, Small Business & Strategic Partnerships, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. Tell us about your organization. A private nonprofit organization, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is our city’s largest and most vibrant business network. What is the Chamber doing to help small business owners navigate today’s increasingly competitive marketplace? We just launched Small Business University, a program dedicated to helping small businesses thrive in San Francisco. The programs hosts events and workshops that will provide small business owners with the resources and information they need to succeed in a changing, dynamic marketplace. We also […]


“Promoting a vibrant community and celebrating our culture.” #SFSBW2015 Interview: Mission Bernal Merchant Association

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and some of the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small businesses flourish in today’s marketplace. Today we hear from Erin Archuleta, President of the Mission Bernal Merchant’s Association. Tell us about your organization. We are an emerging merchants’ association for business owners on the Mission Street Corridor between Cesar Chavez and Randall Streets, promoting a vibrant community and celebrating our culture. What is your organization doing to help small business owners navigate today’s increasingly competitive marketplace? We are liaising with the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development to provide workshops for merchants to have access to city services and agencies and to support whatever needs so many of our Mom and Pop […]


“Our customers are total brand champions.” #SFSBW2015 Interview: Sadie Scheffer, Bread SRSLY

#SFSBW2015 asked small businesses and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Sadie Scheffer, Owner, Bread SRSLY. Tell us about your business in one sentence. We are makers of delicious, nourishing gluten-free sourdough bread. San Francisco is changing, and the small business customer base is changing. What changes are you seeing in your customer base?  Our customers are total brand champions. We are lucky to have a very dedicated following, with core customers who come back to purchase bread every week from one of our retail partners. As we grow into more stores, our brand becomes stronger and sales at each individual store increase. What specific business strategies have you implemented […]


San Francisco Small Business Week 2015 Dates Announced!

San Francisco Small Business Week is excited to announce our dates for 2015! This year San Francisco Small Business Week will be held on May 16 – 22, 2015. Stay tuned for more details on our events and educational opportunities! We really look forward to celebrating with you once again!


Words of Wisdom From San Francisco Small Business Week 2014

We are grateful to the small business owners and sponsors who contributed to the SF Small Business Week blog and YouTube channel through interviews, which included advice and wisdom about what it takes to succeed in business. Here are some of the gems from our 2014 roster of interviewees: What is it about SF that inspires entrepreneurship? “The business community’s collective and never-ending desire to progress, innovate, and challenge the status quo. SF offers its inhabitants vibrancy, beauty and diversity which provokes the mentality that anything is possible.” –  Phoebe Croxton & Ryan Armistead, Happy Moose Juice “We are radicals, we are rebels. We don’t want to work for the man; we want to work for ourselves. We want to do the work that we’re on this planet to do, […]


Small Businesses Should Take Time To Understand How Employees & Customers Get Around: Interview With Ed Reiskin, Director of Transportation, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)

What role does your organization play in supporting small businesses? The Municipal Railway (Muni), San Francisco’s public transit system, was founded in 1912. The SFMTA, which combined Muni and the Department of Parking and Traffic, was created by voter proposition in 1999. Running a successful small business is hard work. What are some of the key challenges that face small business owners today? What we hear from small businesses are mainly concerns about transportation, about getting people to small businesses, again both employees and customers. We work very collaboratively with merchants and merchants’ groups in particular to make sure that people and goods can access their locations. What is the best piece of small business advice you would like to share with our audience? We certainly want people to use […]


Maintaining Good Digital Hygiene Is Critical For Small Businesses: Interview With Allison Checchi, Chief Marketing Officer, YP

What role does your organization play in supporting small businesses? YP is the largest local ad platform in the United States; helping local businesses and communities grow.  YP’s flagship consumer brands include the popular YPsm app and YP.com, which are used by more than 70 million visitors each month in the U.S.  We help small business owners get online, get found and generate leads with our suite of marketing solutions which include: Website Development, Listing Management, Reputation Monitoring, Video Production, Local Search Advertising, Search Engine Marketing, Yellow Page Ads and Direct Marketing programs. Small businesses are able to publish their business information for free at http://adsolutions.yp.com/free-listing-benefits Running a successful small business is hard work. What are some of the key challenges that face small business owners today? Attracting new customers and retaining current […]


CDC Small Business Finance Takes The Time To Understand The Goals Of Your Company — Interview with Kelly Ryan, SBA Loan Expert, CDC Small Business Finance

What role does your organization play in supporting small businesses?   CDC Small Business Finance is a non-profit organization that provides capital for small businesses to help them grow financially, hire new employees, and meet their long term goals. We provide financing for working capital, operating costs, construction, inventory, equipment, and purchasing a building at through the Small Business Administration loan programs. Our focus on community and economic development enables us to act as an advocate for small business owners to obtain the best financing for their needs. In 36 years of operation, we’ve helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs leverage over $12 billion to grow their companies and create over 130,000 new jobs. Running a successful small business is hard work. What are some of the key challenges that face small […]


SFSBW Is Here! The Many Ways to Celebrate Small Business Week!

As nearly one of 80,000 small businesses and startups in San Francisco, your business has a tremendous impact on your community and the city’s economic vitality. Together, we create an innovative and vibrant San Francisco. Know that your business is an important part of our community and neighborhood, and without it, San Francisco would not be the same. This week is for you! We hope you’ll join us at one of these great events happening during San Francisco Small Business Week! __________________________________   Monday, May 12 FLAVORS OF SAN FRANCISCO (This Event Is Sold Out – No Tickets at the Door) Monday, May 12, 6:00-8:00PM Square SF Meet and mingle with more than 1,200 small business owners and community leaders. Connect with dozens of business resources. Savor and sample food from San […]


“You win by endurance.” — Interview with Vic Cekvenich, CEO, Apakua Inc.

Tell us a little bit about your business: What does your business do, and what inspired you to go into business in the first place?                   ApaKau is an innovation service that protects larger web sites from outages and slowdowns. For example, if you have a data center in SF and you have mobile users in Denver or NYC, sometimes when they click on your phone app, it takes some time, a slow down. It is even worse if you have users that are further away, for example EU or Asia. It could be that you web app’s servers are very busy, but the user sees it as a slow and therefore not a good experience with your brand. We fix these slowdowns, but unlike other products, we work with dynamic data. […]


“Not having the right person in an open role can make or break the future success of a small business.” — Interview with Jason Whitman SVP, Client Services, Indeed

What role does your organization play in supporting small businesses?   Indeed helps small businesses make hires. We understand that an open position at a small business has so much meaning – finding the right person can free up an owner to do what he or she does best, whether that’s going on sales calls, meeting with clients or balancing the books.  We are passionate about helping small business owners fill their open roles quickly and cost-effectively so they can focus on growing their companies rather than on filling an empty seat. Running a successful small business is hard work. What are some of the key challenges that face small business owners today?     Hiring can be hard and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.  Small businesses that don’t […]


“There are No Shortcuts to the Hard Work Necessary for Success” — Interview with Alison Okabayashi, Owner, Pretty Please Bakeshop

Tell us a little bit about your business: What does your business do, and what inspired you to go into business in the first place?                   Pretty Please Bakeshop specializes in custom cakes and desserts for all occasions. We believe in food that is beautiful, well-crafted, playful and made from scratch with fresh, high-quality ingredients. In addition to one-of-a-kind wedding cakes, we are known for our line of nostalgic desserts such as gourmet twinkies (we call them ‘twinks’), ding dongs, and seasonal pies. This is the 10th anniversary of SF Small Business Week, and we are honoring businesses like yours that have withstood the test of time. What is the secret to your long-term success?           After 11 years in business (9 as Two for Two Cakes and 2 after re-branding […]


“You Had Me at Bacon” — Interview with Jim Angelus, Owner, Bacon Bacon

Tell us a little bit about your business: What does your business do, and what inspired you to go into business in the first place?                   Bacon Bacon is a cafe and two food trucks serving delicious bacon-inspired food all over the Bay Area. With our recent expansion we are proudly employing 30 local employees. This is the 10th anniversary of SF Small Business Week, and we are honoring businesses like yours that have withstood the test of time. How are you prepared to thrive over the long haul?             In the food business, have a consistent product that tastes great, is of good value and served with a smile. Treating customers, employees and vendors with respect and integrity is the core of doing good business and something we value and […]


Create a Positive Impact on Your Local Community — Interview with Phoebe Croxton & Ryan Armistead, co-founders, Happy Moose Juice

Tell us a little bit about your business: What does your business do, and what inspired you to go into business in the first place?                   We specialize in creating 100% raw + organic, cold-pressed juices and almond milks. We are fueled by our passion to provide SF with some of the most healthy and tasty blends of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and roots that you can put in your body. What is unique about your approach to success?                 Our secret to success is offering SF residents the most delicious and nutrient-dense juice they can find anywhere – it keeps customers coming back. We use the gentlest juicing methods available and share retail space to minimize operating costs and reduce any unnecessary waste of space and energy. Running a small business […]


Stay on Top Your Evolving Technology Needs — Interview with Pamela Harris, Director of Sales, Business Services, Comcast Business

What role does your organization play in supporting small businesses?   Comcast Business helps small business grow and thrive by providing advanced communication solutions that help them meet their business objectives. Through a next-generation network that is backed by 24/7 technical support, Comcast delivers Business Internet, Ethernet, TV and a full portfolio of Voice services for cost-effective, simplified communications management. Running a successful small business is hard work. What are some of the key challenges that face small business owners today?     Time and resources.  Comcast Business offers small business owners peace of mind by taking care of small business owners’ communication solutions 24×7 – phone, the fastest Internet, TV – so that they can focus on your own businesses, growing and serving their own customers. What is the best […]


“Delight your customers by focusing on what you do best.” — Interview with Beck Shahvar Brown, Owner, Keeping Your Balance

What role does your organization play in supporting small businesses?   Keeping Your Balance handles all accounting, tax prep, and payroll tasks so small business owners can focus on doing what they love best: growing their business.  Our “accounting department in the cloud” solution provides full control and transparency to business owners who want to make informed business decisions, without the burden of managing the day-to-day accounting operations. Running a successful small business is hard work. What are some of the key challenges that face small business owners today? Many of the businesses we work with come to us after realizing they are spending way too much time running a shoestring accounting operation.  It’s ok to have an “informal” bookkeeping operation when you are starting out, but if you have […]


Doing Business with The Big Boys — Government and Corporate Procurement

There is no greater opportunity to grow your business than working with large organizations – be is the local, state or federal government. But navigating to a successful contract can be a complicated process and requires planning and know how. This year we’ve added a significant Procurement Track to the Small Business Conference on May 14, 2014.We have three panels where you’ll hear from purchasers from the City and County of San Francisco, and leading government and corporate organizations about how to get started, what certifications you’ll need, how to find the contracts you want and how to win them!We will also have twenty organizations looking for small businesses to do business with including the City and County of San Francisco, U.S. Army Corps of Engineer, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, […]


“Know when to do it yourself and when to get someone else to do it for you” — Interview with Peter Karpas, CEO of North America, Xero

What role does your organization play in supporting small businesses?            At Xero we make beautifully-designed online financial accounting tools.  We make it easy for business owners to stay on top of their finances no matter where they are, and to get quick, real-time insights to make smarter business decisions. In my role here as CEO, I talk to a lot of business owners and it’s very clear that none of them have gone into business because they want to do accounting or follow up on unpaid bills. I’ve heard time and time again how busy they are and as a result their finances slip through the cracks — they lose checks or quite simply forget to bill or follow up on an overdue payment. And […]


“You Need Customer Input to Move Your Business in the Right Direction” Interview with Janine Popick, Founder, VerticalResponse

What role does your organization play in supporting small businesses? VerticalResponse (www.verticalresponse.com) helps small businesses grow by providing them with easy to use, affordable marketing tools, including email marketing and social media marketing. We recently launched a brand-new, self-service email marketing tool that’s free for any companies with 1,000 contacts or less. Running a successful small business is hard work. What are some of the key challenges that face small business owners today?     Not having enough hours in the day. We hear this from our small business customers all the time. They’re wearing a million different hats and it’s a constant challenge to focus on one aspect of running a business – like marketing – and do it as well as they like. What is the best piece of […]


New Wells Fargo Initiative Helps Small Businesses Achieve Financial Success

Interview with Steve Ward, Regional Sales Manager-Small Business Segment, Wells Fargo Bank What role does your organization play in supporting small businesses? Wells Fargo helps San Francisco small businesses succeed financially by providing the financial products and services they need, including providing access to capital. We offer the financing our customers seek to operate and grow their businesses, hire employees, and expand the products and services they are able to provide their customers. In May, we’re introducing a broad, new initiative — Wells Fargo Works for Small BusinessSM – to deliver resources, guidance and services to help more small businesses achieve financial success available at www.wellsfargoworks.com. Running a successful small business is hard work. What are some of the key challenges that face small business owners today? Affordability in San […]


The SF Bicycle Coalition Interview with Green Apple Books’ Co-Owner Pete Mulvihill

  Photo credit: Nate Keck/People For Bikes   Green Apple is a locally owned, fiercely independent bookstore on Clement Street in the Inner Richmond. The bookshop has served the city’s literary needs since 1967, offering a wide and carefully chosen selection of new and used books in all subject areas. Green Apple was recently awarded the national title of Bookstore of the Year by Publishers Weekly, a leading trade rag, and are soon opening a second location in the inner Sunset. Green Apple has also been active in SFLOMA, Clement Street Merchants Assn, NCIBA,Litquake, SFPL’s One City One Book. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition interviewed Co-Owner Pete Mulvihill to find out how his bookstore’s stayed successful in an increasingly online-dominated market, and how Green Apple is pioneering new ways to attract customers on […]


Eat, drink and connect at Flavors of San Francisco – San Francisco Small Business Week’s kick-off event!

Eat, drink and connect at Flavors of San Francisco – San Francisco Small Business Week’s kick-off event! This event sells out quickly – buy your tickets now! Start off San Francisco Small Business Week 2014 with a bang on Monday night, May 12, 2014 from 6:00 to 8:00pm.  Join the festivities at Flavors of San Francisco for a fun filled celebration at Square SF! Meet and mingle with a variety of small business owners and community leaders. Connect with dozens of business resources. Savor and sample food from San Francisco’s local restaurants, bars and food entreprenuers. This is a great opportunity to connect with leaders from across the small business community while an abundance of restaurants, catering companies and bars will serve food and drink including: 49 Square Catering Aperto […]


“I wanted to solve an everyday problem that I was experiencing.” — Interview with Shanna McClearn, Co-Founder, Filey

Tell us a little bit about your business: What does your business do, and what inspired you to go into business in the first place?                   Filey is a mobile and desktop solution that aggregates email attachments and files from various sources, like Dropbox, Sharepoint, and Basecamp, and brings those files into one location for better discovery and organization.  Unlike the other solutions, Filey’s unique technology does not store any of the files – instead, it stores only the meta-data of those distributed files so that they can be accessed across multiple platforms and devices. I wanted to be a business owner in order to take an idea and create something useful that would solve an everyday problem that I was experiencing, which was finding and organizing my email attachments. […]


“Facebook Drives Real Business Results for SMBs.” Interview with Dan Levy, Director of Small Business, Facebook

What role does Facebook play in supporting small businesses?   With over 1 million active advertisers and 25 million small business Pages, Facebook is an effective place for small businesses to reach and find customers. Facebook not only connects people; it connects businesses to people. It’s these connections that drive real business results for SMBs and help them grow their companies and their local economies. Running a successful small business is hard work. What are some of the key challenges that face small business owners today?     Complexity. Small businesses tell us that time and money are in limited supply, and so making things easy for them – whether it’s starting a Facebook Page or creating an ad – is key to helping them focus on running their businesses. What […]


The time has come! San Francisco Small Business Week is officially open for registration!

For the 10th Anniversary we are keeping tradition by providing a kick off celebration at Flavors of San Francisco, but at an exciting new venue! At the Small Business Conference providing educational workshops for the small business community, but we are also adding some new appealing elements such as TED-style talks and a closing reception after the SF Small Business Conference.  There are many new exciting things on the horizon and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone there! Find Registration For All Events at: www.sfsmallbusinessweek.com The 2014 San Francisco Small Business Week schedule is here!  Join us to network, mingle, and celebrate our strong Small Business community in San Francisco. Below is a brief overview of our 2014 program – we hope to see you in May! Flavors of San […]


“At the end of the day, you are your #1 employee. Motivate accordingly.” Interview with Ben Martinek, CEO & Founder, Cozy Industries

This is the 10th anniversary of SF Small Business Week, and we are honoring businesses like yours that have withstood the test of time. What is the secret to your long-term success?           Cozy Industries makes simple solutions for modern life. Our initial product line puts adapters on a “leash,” so they are easy to find and keep safe. It’s funny how a small thing like a lost adapter (when you need to charge or make a presentation) can really derail your day. We want to solve for all those little things that end up having a huge impact. This is just the first step on that road. This is the 10th anniversary of SF Small Business Week. What are some of your strategies to survive over the long term?                   Starting […]


“Owning Your Own Building Helps to Insure the Future of Your Business” Interview with Claudia Cohen, Vice President, Capital Access Group

What role does your organization play in supporting small businesses?   Capital Access Group is a commercial real estate lender specializing in U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loans for growing businesses. The 504 loan provides capital for the purchase, renovation, or construction of commercial real estate and heavy equipment. At Capital Access, we believe that a successful small business sector is essential to creating jobs and strengthening the economy, and it is our mission to help businesses grow by giving them the opportunity to secure financing to own their own real estate through the 504 program. What are some of the key challenges that face small business owners today?        It’s difficult for small businesses to find affordable space in San Francisco, and as the market continues to heat up, […]


If you love what you do and are smart about your approach, success will come naturally: Interview with Nancy Charraga, Owner, Casa Bonampak

Tell us a little bit about your business: What does your business do, and what inspired you to go into business in the first place?                   Casa Bonampak is dedicated to preserving Mexican traditions thru Fair Trade imports.We work directly with indigenous artisans and families and pay fair wages for products. I was inspired to start my business because I love traveling and sharing the beauty of Indian cultures of the Americas. I also saw a need for economic markets and a demand on this side of the border and I consider my business a bridge between the two cultures. It’s a win-win at every step of the business chain. This is the 10th anniversary of SF Small Business Week, and we are honoring businesses like yours that have withstood […]


“We support our local small businesses!” Interview with Randy Wittorp, Public Affairs Director, Kaiser Permanente

    What role does your organization play in supporting small businesses? Kaiser Permanente has been a proud sponsor of SF Small Business Week for over five years, and we’ve hosted several workshops about health care reform and other related issues at the annual San Francisco Small Business Week Conference. We actively support small businesses in San Francisco and believe they are an essential part of San Francisco’s economic health. Running a successful small business is hard work. What are some of the key challenges that face small business owners today? The overwhelming cost of running a small business is a great challenge to owners today. We at Kaiser Permanente are very committed to making health care more affordable to help small businesses. What is the best piece of small […]


Save The Date for SF Small Business Week 2014 – May 12-16!

Attention Small Business owners! Mark your calendars for San Francisco Small Business Week, May 12-16, 2014! This year’s 10th annual event, “Small Business: Shaping Our Communities,” will include 50 seminars, networking opportunities, awards, and sharing of best practices. Below is a rundown of this year’s events: Monday, May 12 Launch of National Small Business Week -The US Small Business Administration launches the National Small Business Week in San Francisco with a live stream from Twitter HQ. More information will be available at http://www.sba.gov/nsbw/nsbw. Flavors of San Francisco @ Square HQ, 6:00 – 8:00 PM The Gala kick-off to San Francisco Small Business Week.  Meet and mingle with more than 1,000 small business owners and community leaders. Connect with dozens of business resources. Savor and sample food from San Francisco’s local restaurants, bars and […]


10th Annual San Francisco Small Business Week Is Coming: JOIN THE CONVERSATION!

San Francisco Small Business Week is an annual celebration of the contributions that small businesses and entrepreneurs have on our great City. San Francisco is the innovation capital of the world and it comes as no surprise that our small businesses have embraced social media communications wholeheartedly. One of San Francisco Small Business Week’s objectives is to engage as many of our attendees as possible in the Small Business Week conversation using social media. This is your week and we want to be sure that you are heard! Participating in the conversation can also lead to more visibility, fans, and followers for your business. Many of you have already taken the plunge and are actively engaged. Others are still getting comfortable maintaining an active social media presence. Wherever you fall […]


Save The Date: San Francisco Small Business Week 2014 – May 12-16, 2014

San Francisco Small Business Week (SF SBW) is a partnership that honors and supports San Francisco’s small businesses through a week-long series of celebrations, workshops, and networking events that inspire, educate, and connect the business community. SF SBW is part of a nationwide celebration of small businesses and entrepreneurs. This year’s SF SBW will take place from May 12 – 16, 2014, beginning with Flavors of San Francisco, Monday, May 12, 2014, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.. The Small Business Conference will happen on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Additional events will be announced closer to the event. The tenth annual SF SBW celebration is produced in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, the Small Business Commission, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, […]


Why Do Communities Need Small Businesses?

According to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, small businesses with less than 100 employees provide jobs to 283,000 people — approximately half of San Francisco’s entire workforce.  These business are not only the backbone of the local economy, they also shape our communities, define our neighborhoods, and help cement San Francisco’s reputation as a world-class destination. The organizers of San Francisco Small Business Week 2013 interviewed a cross-section of small business owners and small business experts to gather their thoughts about why communities need small businesses. Here’s what they said: “Small business is a big part of the soul of a city. Corporations and large businesses often aren’t representative of the people and culture that make a city like San Francisco tick. Small businesses enjoy both a direct connection […]