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SF Small Business Week. Celebrate Small Business.

US Small Business Administration: Sometimes You Need Additional Support

#SFSBW2018 asked some of our small business resources to share insights, best practices, and examples of how they help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Julie Clowes, District Director of the local US Small Business Administration.

US Small Business Administration

What is the mission of the US Small Business Administration?

Our mission is to help start and grow businesses in Northern California.

What are your organization’s recent accomplishments that demonstrate how you have helped the small business community?

SBA participating lenders made over $1B in loans to small businesses in Northern California last year. We work with many local resource partners to provide daily free one-on-one mentoring and low-cost training. The 8(a) Business Development Program offers assistance to small businesses interested in government contracting. The 8(a) BD Program has been essential for helping socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs gain access to federal contracts to help them build revenue and grow their 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?

Business mentoring and counseling is something of which can benefit any business owner, from start-up to those looking for growth opportunities.  Businesses can take advantage of free assistance from our Resource Partners: SCORE, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Centers, Veterans Business Outreach Center, and Procurement Technical Assistance Center. Go here to find the local resources near you.

Mission Hill Creamery in Santa Cruz

San Francisco has been experiencing quite the transformation. What is your organization doing to attract and support new and younger small business owners? What resources do you offer to entrepreneurs and small businesses to get started?

One of SBA’s longest standing partnerships is with SCORE –  the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, with more than 10,000 volunteers in 300 chapters nationwide.  The men and women that volunteer their time and expertise are dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground and achieve their goals. There are five chapters in the greater Bay Area.

San Francisco is known for its diverse culture. How does your organization ensure that the small businesses that make this city unique are able to stay in San Francisco?

Our 504 Certified Development Company loans finance the acquisition or construction of commercial real estate that will be occupied by the small business borrower, or acquisition of other long-term fixed assets such as heavy equipment. CDCs are nonprofit organizations approved by SBA to facilitate the 504-loan program. A minimum 10% borrower injection is required.

 What words of advice or wisdom would you like to share with small business owners?

Small businesses owners have great passion and conviction for their product or service, but sometimes they need some additional support.  We want all small business owners to remember to reach out to SBA so that we can help connect you with the myriad of resources available to assist you.  There are still many misperceptions about SBA and the tools and resources it provides.  We want people to know we stand ready to assist all small businesses at any stage of the business life cycle.   This week presents a great opportunity to celebrate the tremendous success and contributions of our local small businesses and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Small Business Support San Francisco

Can you share a real-life success story of how you’ve supported small business? 

“Like a scene out of a movie, as Kelly was celebrating the renewal of her year-to-year lease with her employees and a bottle of champagne, a bike messenger rushed in with an envelope.  Assuming it was the signed lease papers from her landlord, she opened the envelope in front of everyone only to find out it was, in fact, an eviction notice.  The landlord had found a new tenant willing to pay more than three times what Leftovers was paying for the space.

Kelly was sure she’d have to close the business…”

Read the rest of Kelly’s gripping success story here!

Connect with US Small Business Administration: