Small Business Resources
Who said there’s no such 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.
African American Chamber of Commerce
1006 Webster Street
The San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce (SFAACC) is one of California’s most influential minority business organizations, representing and promoting African American business owners in San Francisco. Through advocacy and economic development, SFAACC is creating a firm economic base that supports the self-determination and survival of African American businesses. SFAACC is a non-profit 501c6 corporation.
Bar Association of San Francisco
301 Battery Street
Since 1946 The Bar Association of San Francisco’s award winning non-profit Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) has provided the public with referrals to qualified, experienced attorneys. Our multilingual legal interviewers carefully and thoughtfully screen each inquiry to determine the best avenue for the client. In addition to providing referrals in over 100 areas of the law, the LRIS makes referrals to over 250 community, government, and social service agencies. Small businesses can gain assistance with a wide variety of matters including: ADA Compliance, Contracts, Intellectual Property Rights, and Labor Relations. A thirty-minute consultation with an attorney is just $35 (waived for Personal Injury and Worker’s Compensation matters). Call or click to connect with us: (415) 989-1616 or www.sfbar.org/lris. Mediation, arbitration, and fee dispute services are excellent options for businesses as well.
Business Matchmaking is celebrating its 10th year of producing no cost events for small business enabling them to pursue procurement opportunities with government agencies and major corporations. They produce regional events as well as the U.S. Government’s Leading All-agency Annual Procurement conference. To date they have facilitated more than $8 billion dollars in contract awards for small business.
California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
121 Spear Street, Ste 460
The mission of the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration is to serve the public through fair, effective, and efficient tax administration.
Centro Community Partners
825 Washington Street, Suite 228
Centro Community Partners (Centro) provides access to entrepreneurship education, financial literacy, enterprise building apps and capital to become self-sustaining entrepreneurs. Centro empowers underserved entrepreneurs to be effective business owners that create living-wage jobs and grow businesses that add to the economic vitality and social vibrancy of their communities. Centro runs three training programs – basic entrepreneurship & financial literacy, advanced entrepreneurship, and advisor training. Our basic entrepreneurship program is also available through partner organizations.
Check out our free Business Planning App at centro-mobile.org/cmd
Contract Monitoring Division
30 Van Ness, Suite 200
The Contract Monitoring Division (CMD) implements and enforces the Chapter 12B Equal Benefits Ordinance and the Chapter 14B Local Business Enterprise Ordinance adopted by the Board of Supervisors to protect the public interest in equality throughout the City of San Francisco’s governmental contracting process. In order to provide the highest level of public service, the CMD is committed to providing expert assistance to businesses and City departments to ensure this is accomplished fairly, effectively and efficiently.
Millions of Californians will be able to choose affordable, high-quality health insurance coverage offered through Covered California™ that will take effect January 2014. Covered California is a new, easy-to-use marketplace where you and your family may get financial assistance to make coverage more affordable and where you will be able to compare and choose health coverage that best fits your needs and budget. By law, your coverage can’t be dropped or denied even if you have a pre-existing medical condition or get sick.
Department of Emergency Management
30 Van Ness Ave, Suite 3300
The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management (DEM) is responsible for 911 Dispatch, the Emergency Medical Services system, and the myriad of activities involved in preparing for, responding to and recovering from disasters. DEM works with dozens of city and county agencies in the response to and recovery from major emergencies – planning, training, and exercising with them beforehand and coordinating their efforts in the aftermath. The department also partners with and works to support the efforts of community agencies and organizations that have a role in San Francisco’s resilience. Our City’s ability to bounce back from emergencies or disasters depends upon San Francisco businesses, non-profit organizations, congregations, and community-based organizations. DEM works closely with these communities to help ensure their capacity to participate in our rapid and effective recovery.
Department of the Environment
1455 Market Street, Suite 1200
The San Francisco Department of the Environment has many offerings for the small business community. Services range from helping to comply with city ordinances, offering incentives for energy efficiency improvements, and even providing a Green Business seal to those who go above and beyond. Our programs help businesses with hands-on support, so it’s easy to make the right choice for both your business and our environment. Visit us at SFEnvironment.org
Department of Public Works
1155 Market Street
The Department of Public Works is a world-class public works organization that contributes to making San Francisco a beautiful, livable, vibrant, safe and sustainable city. DPW enhances the quality of life in San Francisco by providing outstanding public service.
City Hall, Room 12, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
A seven member Commission established in 2003, the Entertainment Commission has the powers and duties to accept, review, gather information regarding and conduct hearings for entertainment-related permit applications. Additionally, the Entertainment Commission plans and coordinates the provision of City services for major events for which there is no recognized organizer, promoter, or sponsor.
Golden Gate Business Association
1841 Market Street, 3rd Floor
For over 35 years the Golden Gate Business Association has grown, promoted and increased the visibility of San Francisco Bay Area LGBT businesses and those businesses in the community that support them. With over 30 educational programs and networking events per year, as well as targeted promotion, the GGBA empowers its members to thrive in business. Visit the GGBA website for more information and a full calendar of events.
Golden Gate Restaurant Association
220 Montgomery Street, Suite 990
The Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA) is a non-profit trade association founded in 1936. GGRA’s mission is to celebrate and empower the restaurant community through advocacy, education, marketing, events and training. The GGRA exists to advocate for restaurants’ unique interests. We do that within the corridors of City Hall and through education and training programs to make sure our members are apprised of evolving legislation and stay in compliance. We celebrate and showcase our members through great annual events like Eat Drink SF and SF Restaurant week. Our member community includes restaurants of all sizes and profiles and we have a valuable network of resources to support them through all stages of growth.
Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GoBiz)
The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) was created by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to serve as California’s single point of contact for economic development and job creation efforts. GO-Biz offers a range of services to business owners including: attraction, retention and expansion services, site selection, permit streamlining, clearing of regulatory hurdles, small business assistance, international trade development, assistance with state government, and much more.
Hispanic Chambers of Commerce of San Francisco
3597 Mission Street
The Hispanic Chambers of Commerce of San Francisco (HCCSF) is an umbrella organization merging the efforts of four small ethnic chambers in the Bay Area. The Nicaraguan-American, Central-American, Guatemalan-American and Latin American & Caribbean chambers united in order to solidify their Hispanic branding, and to provide advocacy, representation, referrals, promotion and better access to capital and services to their members. We empower every Hispanic/Latino small business owner and our membership by providing seminars, workshops, marketing, networking, legislative information and procurement opportunities to our membership. HCCSF stands for promoting business and preserving the traditions of the Hispanic/Latino community.
Through education, professional advising, and investment in small business owners, ICA and Fund Good Jobs improve communities by providing good local jobs to people with high barriers to employment.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
1301 Clay Street
Oakland, CA 94612
Internal Revenue Service has several resources and help on the irs.gov website helping small businesses navigate the IRS tax code. Only Congress can change or simplify the code. As IRS Commissioner John Koskinen explained to the House Small Business Committee, IRS understands “the critical role played by small businesses and self-employed taxpayers in our country as engines of economic growth.” For the full article please see
JobsNOW! – Human Services Agency
3120 Mission Street
The JobsNOW! Wage Subsidy program provides work opportunities to low-income San Franciscans while offering employers a $5000 wage reimbursement for all new hires of qualified participants. Employers are reimbursed a maximum of $1000 per month in wage costs, not to exceed $5000 total reimbursement.
875 Howard Street, Suite 340
Kiva is an international non profit that helps underserved, financially excluded, and socially impactful entrepreneurs start or grow their business. In 2011 they started a US program called Kiva Zip that is focused on the needs of entrepreneurs domestically. They offer 0% interest loans up to $10,000 that are crowdfunded online. For more information please visit zip.kiva.org or contact Justin Renfro at Justin@kiva.org.
2948 Folsom Street
415.824.2729 x 303
La Cocina provides commercial kitchen space and technical assistance to low-income entrepreneurs who are launching, growing and formalizing their food businesses.
Main Street Launch
560 Pine Street, Second Floor
Since 1979, we have empowered small business owners in the Bay Area, beginning in Oakland and expanding to serve San Francisco and veteran-owned businesses in California. Through our core services of business advising and loans up to $250,000 to new and existing businesses, we help small businesses expand in size, increase their profits, and reach their goals. We are honored to work with successful, innovative, and community-oriented entrepreneurs. We believe in the power of entrepreneurship to transform lives and communities. In the last 10 years we closed over 600 loans that totaled $54 million, and our borrowers have created thousands of new local jobs.
Mission Asset Fund (MAF)
3269 Mission Street
We are a nonprofit organization on a mission to create a fair financial marketplace for hardworking families.
Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)
2301 Mission Street, Suite 301
(415) 282-3334 ext.101
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.
Northeast Community Federal Credit Union
683 Clay Street
Targets low-income and unbanked individuals with their banking needs. One-stop services ranging from registering the Company to writing business plans and applying for loans.
Office of Contract Administration (OCA)
City Hall, Room 430, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
The Office of Contract Administration/Purchasing of the City and County of San Francisco supports the procurement of the material, equipment, and services that are essential to providing governmental services for the citizens of San Francisco. The contracting and procurement services that Purchasing provides support the operations of the City departments who provide services to the public.
Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD)
City Hall, Room 448, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
OEWD supports the ongoing economic vitality of San Francisco. Under the direction of the Mayor, OEWD provides citywide leadership for workforce development, business attraction and retention, neighborhood commercial revitalization, international business and development planning. OEWD’s programs are responsible for strengthening San Francisco’s many diverse neighborhoods and commercial corridors, creating a business climate where companies can grow and prosper and ensuring a continually high quality of life for all San Franciscans.
Office of Financial Empowerment
CurrenC SF is a new direct deposit initiative from the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment. We are working with businesses throughout the City to promote widespread participation in direct deposit. By increasing direct deposit enrollment among your employees, you can cut costs related to the printing, processing, and distribution of paper paychecks, and make your business more productive. You will also provide safe financial access to working families, and reduce reliance on check cashers and other fringe financial services. And moving to direct deposit helps to reduce waste and pollution. Simply put, direct deposit is the best way to pay your employees – and we can help! CurrenC SF provides everything you need to increase direct deposit enrollment, including an employer toolkit, marketing materials, guides to payroll products and services, and more: www.currencsf.org.
Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE)
City Hall, Room 430, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
The Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) enforces labor laws adopted by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and by San Francisco voters. Many of these laws apply city-wide. Others apply specifically to City contractors, lessees, and others doing business with the City. OLSE enforces labor laws of general application, including the SF Minimum Wage Ordinance, Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, and Lactation in the Workplace. For updates on local labor laws and latest ordinance that apply to all employers in San Francisco, visit http://sfgov.org/olse/.
Office of Small Business (OSB)
City Hall, Room 110, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
The Small Business Commission and Office of Small Business function as the City’s central point of information and assistance to small businesses in San Francisco. The office provides direct services through customized one-on-one assistance, collaborations with other City agencies and referrals to various small business resources. By championing “business friendly” policies, the Small Business Commission and its Office of Small Business work to support and enhance an environment where small businesses can succeed and flourish.
Opportunity Fund Northern California
100 Bush Street, Suite 1550 – 94104
Opportunity Fund advances the economic well-being of working people by helping them earn, save, and invest in their future. Opportunity Fund provides Small Business Loans, IDA Savings, and Community Real Estate services.
Pacific Community Ventures (PCV)
1700 Broadway, Suite 300, Oakland, CA 94612
Building a successful small business involves overcoming many challenges, and it’s even harder if you’re new to the country or don’t have money from your family to help you get started. Pacific Community Ventures give entrepreneurs hope by helping them knock down structural barriers and arming them with resources, advising, and investment. Our mission is to invest in small businesses, create good jobs for working people, and make markets work for social good. We achieve our mission through a combination of fair loans, free mentorship, skilled volunteerism, social impact measurement and management tools, and field-building research. Visit www.pacificcommunityventures.org to learn more.
Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center (REC)
275 Fifth Street
Renaissance provides small business training, access to capital and ongoing support services to emerging and established businesses. Our programs include small business training classes on the introductory and business planning levels, skill building workshops, our US SBA Women’s Business Center, offering special programs for women, technology training, access to capital, one on one consulting, industry specific training in the Fashion sector and Women Mean Business our monthly women’s networking event.
1308 Evans-B Street
Renaissance’s Bayview Center provides entrepreneurship training and support services for emerging and established small businesses in Bayview Hunters Point, Visitación Valley and the South East Sector. Services include training classes, skill building workshops, access to capital, an onsite Business Assistance Center, Bayview Women, a women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment program, consulting, and industry specific training for businesses in the Construction Sector.
San Francisco Business Portal
The San Francisco Business Portal is the primary online resource for starting, running, and growing a business in our City. With comprehensive information and tailored tools, the portal helps you navigate the process and quickly learn what it takes to be compliant.
San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
235 Montgomery Street
The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is the largest and most inclusive business membership organization in San Francisco. For more than 160 years, the SF Chamber has been dedicated to supporting and growing business through advocacy, economic development, and business development.
San Francisco Community Board Program
601 Van Ness Ave, Suite 2040
Community Boards is the oldest, longest-running public mediation service in the United States that helps San Francisco residents and businesses find peaceful solutions to conflicts through mediation, trainings, facilitation, and help organizations improve their communication and resolution skills. We can help you manage everyday conflicts by containing disputes before they escalate to small claims court. We offer conflict resolution services for a nominal fee. Our mediation services are offered in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese.
San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations
3444 Broderick Street
The Council is dedicated to the promotion, preservation and enhancement of San Francisco’s Business Community and brings together nearly twenty diverse neighborhood business organizations, giving small business owners a broad base of support. As a host of San Francisco’s Small Business Week, we help to celebrate the success of small business – the very backbone of San Francisco’s economy.
San Francisco Economic Development Alliance
The San Francisco Economic Development Alliance (SFEDA) is a collaboration of 17 nonprofit organizations that provide training, funding and ongoing support for small and micro businesses in San Francisco. Our mission is to bring solutions and prosperity to every small business owner serving San Francisco. We achieve this mission by actively advocating at the City level for small businesses, leveraging resources and best practices, maintaining meaningful partnerships, and providing entrepreneurs with equitable access to advising resources and capital.
San Francisco International Airport
PO Box 8097, San Francisco, CA 94128-8097
The Airport Commission’s Small Business Affairs Office (SBAO) conducts outreach programs to promote and ensure local, small, and disadvantaged business participation in Airport concession leases and contracts. SBAO staff serve as an advocate, disseminates information, and develops policies and activities to maximize small business participation in all phases of Airport contracting. SBAO also enforces the Federal DBE and ACDBE contracting requirements, and monitors the LBE compliance program for SFO. SFO’s Small Business Affairs Office (SBAO) champions efforts that link small business to economic opportunities at the Airport. For more information on SBAO services and initiatives, please contact: Dana Lang at 650.821.5021 or Dana.Lang@fysfo.com.
San Francisco LGBT Community Center
1800 Market Street
The San Francisco LGBT Community Center’s Small Business Services Program empowers entrepreneurs at any stage, from pre-startup to expansion. We offer free, one-on-one technical assistance, collaborative workshops, an innovative, credit-building microloan program, loan packaging, small business mentorship and referrals to our vast small business development network. Our small business consultant provides individualized advice, a needs assessment and the development of an action plan that supports business planning, market strategy, networking opportunities, funding efforts and more. To learn more contact Carissa Avalos, Economic Development Associate at the Center, carissaA@sfcenter.org or 415-865-5655.
San Francisco Locally Owned Merchant Alliance (SFLOMA)
PO Box 29169
SFLOMA identifies and promotes locally owned independent businesses. Our goal is to educate and inform residents of and visitors to San Francisco, of the positive economic value on the community and the value to the individual of shopping at independent retailers.
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)
311 (or 415.701.2311 outside of San Francisco)
From contracting with small business for work opportunities to making sure streets meet the needs of local businesses, there are many ways the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) supports our small business community. We’re committed to providing a level playing field in the contracts we award to Small Business Enterprises (SBEs), Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) and Local Business Enterprises (LBEs). Visit SFMTA.com to learn more about Doing Business with the SFMTA. We also fulfill color curb requests for loading and short term parking, bike rack installation, traffic calming upgrades and other street features that increase safety and highlight your business. Find the full range of transportation services we provide to businesses upon request at SFMTA.com/SFMTA-Services.
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
525 Golden Gate Avenue, 13th Floor
SFPUC, a department of the City and County of San Francisco, is the 3rd largest municipal utility in California and is comprised of three essential 24/7 service utilities: Water: (provide retail drinking water and wholesale water to three Bay Area counties; serving 2.5 million residential, commercial, & industrial customers); Wastewater Services in SF: (collection, treatment, & disposal; only major city in California that operates a city-wide combined sewer system); and Power Services in SF: (green hydroelectric and solar power). Contracting opportunities are available to small and large local and regional businesses through SFPUC’s multi-billion dollars bond-funded and multi-year infrastructure programs, including the Sewer System Improvement Program (SSIP) and the Water System Improvement Program (WSIP), one of the largest water infrastructure programs in the nation and the largest infrastructure program ever undertaken by the City of San Francisco.
San Francisco Small Business Development Center
City Hall, Room 110, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place.
We provide free, confidential one-on-one customized consulting services and training workshops in English, Spanish and Chinese to established and startup businesses in San Francisco and Northern San Mateo County. Our team of professional consultants are not only counselors but also business owners with diverse backgrounds and expertise in a variety of industries such as restaurant and specialty food service, fashion retail and manufacturing, wholesale, technology and social media, government contracting, among others.
San Francisco SCORE
455 Market Street, Suite 600
SCORE is a non-profit resource partner of the Small Business Administration dedicated to educating entrepreneurs. Our volunteers are working and retired business executives who provide free counseling and low cost workshops to help businesses get started and grow successfully.
926 Howard Street
SFMade’s mission is to build and support a vibrant manufacturing sector in San Francisco that sustains companies producing locally made products, encourages entrepreneurship and innovation, and creates employment opportunities for a diverse, local workforce.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
455 Market Street, Suite 600
The Small Business Administration is the federal agency assisting entrepreneurs with financing, training and advocacy. In addition, the SBA works with thousands of lending, educational and training institutions nationwide to benefit businesses.
Small Business Network
P. O. Box 225336
Our mission is to strengthen and unify the voice of the Small Business Community in San Francisco. With a growing membership of 20 business organizations, we represent more than 19,000 small businesses in San Francisco currently.
Southeast Asian Community Center
875 O’Farrell Street
Our mission is to develop and administer programs that lead to economic development and community empowerment for Southeast Asians, low-income residents, and small business owners. Our main programs are: small business technical assistance, Microloans, consumer advocacy, translation services, immigration services, and food distribution. Now in our 39th year of operations, we serve clients throughout the City and make Microloans to small businesses throughout the Greater Bay Area.
The San Francisco Community Business Law Center
The BLC is a pro bono legal education and self-help program that provides preventive business law resources free of charge for low-income micro-business owners who cannot afford lawyers. Regularly scheduled pro bono workshops are available on a comprehensive range of business law topics including legal entity formation, funding, intellectual property rights protection, e-commerce protection, contract negotiation, commercial lease agreements, partnership and independent contractor agreements, and safe hiring practices. For further information please see facebook.com/
The Supplier Clearinghouse
On behalf of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and its Supplier Diversity Program, the Supplier Clearinghouse certifies businesses as Women and/or Minority owned Business Enterprises (WMBE, WBE, MBE). The purpose of this certification is to encourage the utility companies regulated by the CPUC to recruit and utilize businesses that are owned and operated by women and minorities. For more information on the Supplier Diversity Program contact 800-253-0500 or email@example.com.
Treasurer / Tax Collector
City Hall, Room 140, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
The Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector serves as the banker, tax collector, collection agent, and investment officer for the City and County of San Francisco. The Department collects and deposits taxes and other obligations paid to the City, including business taxes, property taxes, and fees for various business licenses and permits that are required by the Municipal Code.
USF Gellert Family Business Resource Center
The University of San Francisco’s Gellert Family Business Center provides family-owned businesses with access to networking, an open exchange of strategic and practical family business information and advances in the field of family business research, education, and scholarship.
VEDC is a leading non-profit small business lender that is changing the way small business lending is done by making it more available, sustainable and impactful. As a national small business lender, VEDC offers small business loans ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 in the Bay Area. VEDC has a 37-year history of supporting small business owners with a goal of creating jobs and small businesses.
930 Montgomery Street
Working Solutions is a nonprofit organization that provides microloans of $5,000 to $50,000 in all 9 Bay Area Counties. We provide every entrepreneur with 5 years of business consulting, mentorship, and resources. Working Solutions prioritizes serving low-income individuals, women, and people of color. We support microenterprise growth as a strategy to strengthen the local economy, create jobs, and build strong communities.