Small business debt is rising even as reopening expands. SF New Deal expands its outreach and launches debt relief program to provide $2500 grants to 400 San Francisco businesses.
SF New Deal is launching a micro-grant program to distribute $1,000,000 to small businesses in San Francisco, many of whom are struggling with debt even as post-covid reopening expands. In order to support small businesses and strengthen local communities, SF New Deal is providing grants of $2,500 to 400 small businesses.
A March 2021 SF New Deal survey of San Francisco restaurants found that the number of restaurants facing debt, as well as the amount of debt, has increased significantly. 60% of restaurants are currently in debt, compared to 34% in March 2020, the start of the first shelter-in-place order. On average, debt nearly doubled, increasing from $62,000 to $114,000.
“Direct debt relief is one of the best ways we can support small businesses right now. The challenges they’re facing are immense and reopening is just the first step on a long road to financial recovery, ” said Lenore Estrada, Executive Director of SF New Deal. “We’re excited to offer much needed financial assistance, with an easy application and no need for repayment, to a range of small businesses beyond just restaurants.”
SF New Deal’s grant program is open to all small businesses, including newly opened businesses, that have not previously participated in any of SF New Deal’s programs. The business does not have to be a restaurant to apply — for example bookstores, retail stores, nail salons or any type of impacted small businesses are encouraged to apply.
Individuals can apply for their own business to receive a grant or can nominate a small business for the grant. Application and nomination details are listed on the SF New Deal Small Business Debt Relief Grant Program Page. The application submission period is from June 1 – June 30, 2021. Grant award announcements will be made by July 31, 2021.
In order to qualify, the business must meet all of the following criteria:
- The business is located within the City of San Francisco.
- The business has 3 or fewer locations.
- The business has at least 3 (Full Time Equivalent) employees.
- The business had 2019 (pre-pandemic) revenue of less than $3M annually.
- The business was negatively impacted by COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place orders (ex. the business lost employees, sales decreased, debt increased, etc.).
- The business has no outstanding violations or existing claims with the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) or the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).
- The business has never participated in any of SF New Deal’s programs.
Grant money may be applied to any business-related expense, including business payroll, business rent, business supplies, etc. The money must be spent on or before December 31, 2021 and may not be retained as profit or kept by the owner. Grant recipients will be required to provide proof of how the grant money was spent. SF New Deal will convene grant recipients in an advisory process to learn about challenges facing small business recovery and inform SF New Deal’s future programs, advocacy efforts, and policy recommendations.
Since March 2020, SF New Deal has provided immediate support to the restaurant industry at a time of unforeseen and significant need. Over the past 14 months, SF New Deal has disbursed over $24,500,000 directly to more than 206 small businesses, helping them keep their doors open and fuel San Francisco’s local economy while simultaneously providing more than 2,275,000 meals to neighbors in need.