Programs

Accessible Business Entrance Program

Effective May 22, 2016, the Accessible Business Entrance Program requires any building with a “place of public accommodation” to have primary entrances and entrance routes into the building accessible to people with disabilities. Barriers to accessible entrances include steps to entryways, door handles requiring grasping or twisting of the wrist, sloping or narrow doorways and uneven flooring. If you are a business serving members of the public directly, the property owner of the building your business is located in will need to make sure your entrance complies with the new ordinance. Businesses should review the information on this page for guidance on how this could financially affect you. Click here for more details

ADA Requirements and Resources

Making your business accessible is not a one time endeavor, it is an ongoing responsibility.  Various state and federal disability access laws apply to small businesses in California.  Non-compliance can result in significant expense from defending and settling "drive-by" lawsuits. In these sections, we help you navigate the complex rules and regulations surrounding ADA requirements, ways to bring your business into compliance and mitigate possible lawsuits, and resources that can help you along the way. Remember, accessibility is good for business!  For details, visit our ADA Requirements and ADA Resources pages.

Landlord Notification Requirements Regarding Disability Access

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Starting January 1, 2013, commercial property landlords have the obligation of making disability access improvements and providing required notifications when entering into or amending a lease of a property between to 5,001 and 7,500 square feet of space.  Effective June 1, 2013, the requirement expanded to properties fewer than 5000 square feet of space.  Click here for more details.

New Legislation in 2018 and How to Prepare Your Business

As you prepare your business for the New Year, it’s important to be aware of legislation that could impact your business come 2018. Navigating local, state and federal laws can be daunting, so our office is committed to providing education and resources about key laws and regulations small businesses might have to comply with. Various laws may have overlapping coverage, such is the case with parental and sick leave laws, so it is important to understand all of the local, state and federal laws involved. In many cases, San Francisco requirements often exceed state laws, although there may be requirements such as employee notifications and other requirements at the state and federal levels to achieve compliance. Governor Brown signed into law a host of new employment laws that affect California workplaces starting January 1, 2018. Here’s a summary of key laws, along with best practices to prepare and ensure compliance. Click here for more details. 

Kiva Zip Trustee

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The Office of Small Business is a trustee with Kiva Zip.  San Francisco small businesses now have a new way to access 0% interest loans to help them start and grow their business.  Kiva Zip loans are crowd-funded by individual lenders on the Kiva Zip website, connecting small businesses with dozens of lenders who can be potential brand ambassadors, customers, and mentors.  As a trustee, the Office of Small Business will work to identify and endorse qualified borrowers.  See additional loan information and criteria below.

Small Business Week

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San Francisco Small Business Week is a public/private partnership first formed in 2005 to honor and support the more than 85,000 thousand small businesses and entrepreneurs that call San Francisco home.  As part of National Small Business Week, and celebrate the contributions and achievements of small business owners by offering a series of educational and networking events designed to inspire, educate and connect the members of our business community.

San Francisco Small Business Week is the largest small business week in the United States and produced by a volunteer committee represented by the US Small Business Administration, The City and County of San Francisco, Office of the Mayor and Office of Small Business, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center & San Francisco Economic Development Alliance, San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce, Council of District Merchants Association, the Golden Gate Business Association, sf.citi and Straus Events.  sfsmallbusinessweek.com  
Sign up to be a part of it!

Small Business Week Mayor and Board of Supervisors Honorees.

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday Logo 2014 
Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday sits Small Business Saturday®, a day dedicated to helping small businesses and their communities. By supporting local, independently-owned small businesses, we help to create and retain jobs, boost the economy and preserve San Francisco’s small businesses, many of which reside in our neighborhood commercial corridors.

In its efforts to support such activities, the Office of Small Business and the Small Business Commission partners with American Express, San Francisco Invest in Neighborhoods, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency, San Francisco Council of District Merchants, San Francisco Travel, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and Women Impacting Public Policy, to encourage small business to participate and public to shop on Small Business Saturday®.

Small Business Saturday 2014 Line-up

• Small Business Saturday Every Day By the Bay! Go Shopping in one of the participating neighborhoods
• Main Street Makeover Hayes Valley
• Small Business Saturday Street Art Noe Valley
• Etsy Truck Show: Noon – 7pm, Little Paper Planes, 855 Valencia Street
• Meet an Author with Small Business Saturday Indie Bound
• Small Business Saturday Night Upper Fillmore: 6:30pm – 10pm
• #DineSmall on Small Business Saturday Night
• Shop Small Banners

For more detail on how you as a business can participate: www.shopsmall.org  

Open In SF
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Point of contact for food-based businesses opening in San Francisco

Mayor Lee has set a priority to support the 80,000 small businesses that are at the core of San Francisco’s identity, economy, and workforce, and to make it easier for San Franciscans to open, operate, or grow a small business. As part of this effort, Office of Economic and Workforce Development launched the San Francisco Business Portal in 2014 as a comprehensive online business resource. The Small Business Acceleration Program is the next step in this effort. The program is an interagency collaboration that provides direct services to assist individuals in San Francisco who are working through the permitting process to open a small business.  Click here for more information.


Programs Archive