Press Release

Mayor Breed Announces $4 Million in Grants to Help Fill Storefronts and Support Small Businesses Citywide

These grants, part of a larger effort to help small businesses recover post pandemic, build on initiatives and programs that support neighborhood vibrancy
July 17, 2023

San Francisco, CA— Mayor London N. Breed today announced $4 million in grants that will fund two programs to support the launch of small businesses across the City while addressing storefront vacancies. The funds, distributed through the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), are part of a larger strategy aimed to help businesses contribute to thriving neighborhood corridors where residents can find the services and goods they need close to home.    

The two grants launched by OEWD prioritize strengthening existing businesses and filling ground floor space in commercial corridors that serve low to moderate income areas or whose sales tax volume is slower in recovery. As parts of San Francisco commercial corridors begin to recover, small businesses still face many challenges in operating a business.  

“Successful and thriving small businesses strengthen our neighborhoods, create jobs, and bring energy to our merchant corridors,” said Mayor Breed. “These grants are part of our strategy to fill empty storefronts and revitalize our economy, which will help our city and small business community continue to recover. I want to thank OEWD and our non-profit partners for their work to support our entrepreneurs all across the City.”  

Storefront Opportunity Grant Program  

This program will help San Francisco fill empty storefronts by providing entrepreneurs technical assistance and funding to secure new commercial leases. Small businesses that are eligible can apply to receive up to $25,000 for a first storefront location or up to $50,000 to expand to an additional location. Small businesses in neighborhoods that have experienced slower economic recovery or serve low to moderate income neighborhoods can receive training and assistance on how to secure leases with favorable terms.    

Business Training Grant Program   

This program supports an equitable economic recovery by instituting programs and services to advance racial and economic justice. New and existing entrepreneurs who complete 14 hours of training and counseling under a pre-qualified program may be eligible to apply. Providing the training prior to the funding incentivizes businesses to devise ways to remain successful and profitable. The training topics include financial management, marketing, licensing and permitting, human resources, as well as business development. Small businesses that are eligible and apply could receive $5,000 to $50,000 in grants. The City is collaborating with funded nonprofit partners who provide culturally accessible programming.     

Since the launch of the Business Training Grant in June 2022, $4.7 million have been distributed among approximately 409 small businesses so far citywide. Approximately 90% of the awards went to women and minority-owned businesses.    

Cultivating a robust small business ecosystem and vibrant commercial corridors is crucial for our community's well-being and economic prosperity. With these new grants and the city’s larger portfolio of services, we prioritize strengthening businesses, filling storefronts, and promoting an equitable economic recovery,” said Sarah Dennis Phillips, Executive Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “Together, we are building a resilient foundation that empowers entrepreneurs to contribute to thriving neighborhood corridors, enriching the lives of residents and creating a vibrant and prosperous future for all.”     

The launch and expansion of these grants is one element of the Mayor’s larger economic recovery strategy to support small businesses and the commercial corridors in which they operate. These efforts, with a focus on equity and inclusivity, include policy interventions and ongoing technical assistance for businesses. These new funds also augment neighborhood-centered efforts to boost foot traffic through public events within commercial areas in collaboration with local artists, musicians, and performers.   

"The city’s Small Business Training Grant Program has been an essential tool that is a culmination of OEWD's work with community-based organization providers working directly and on the ground with small businesses on a daily basis in their respective communities,” said William Ortiz-Cartegena, Small Business Commissioner and small business owner. “The leveraging and efficiency of the grant is evident not only by the small businesses that were assisted who are now trained, but also the economic indicators along our commercial corridor which is showing an increase in new storefronts in the Mission District, alone.”  

“As we navigate through these unprecedented times for small businesses in San Francisco, OEWD is extending a lifeline in the form of grants after the completion of our training programs," said Pia Harris, Director of San Francisco Housing Development Corporation’s Economic Development (SFHDC) Program. "These grants are proving to be a tremendous help to our small businesses, enabling them to purchase delivery vehicles, obtain initial inventory, or even launch their own websites. This investment is laying a solid foundation for these businesses to potentially become some of San Francisco’s future companies while also serving our most vulnerable residents by delivering meals and groceries across the city."     

“OEWD’s Business Training Grant program helped my business reach heights that I can only imagine. With their guidance, I was able to design a business plan that would become a blueprint for me to scale my business effectively, said Vincent Mabutas of Made In The City. “More importantly, with the funds I received from the grant I was able to allocate a portion to inventory, rent costs and equipment that will assist me in keeping my production costs low in the long run. The grant has helped fast-track my dream of being a San Francisco business owner and I will forever be grateful.” 
“Amidst these challenging times, the unwavering support offered by this grant has proved invaluable in setting up and equipping the much-anticipated What's A Scoop establishment,” said Anthony Womack, the proud proprietor of What's the Scoop Ice Cream in the Bayview. “My heartfelt appreciation for the tremendous aid in bringing this exciting venture to life.”  

San Francisco has directed over $83 million in grants and loans to support more than 4,800 small businesses since the start of the pandemic. Information and services are also available for business owners who can’t pay back rent and are looking for assistance to prevent a commercial eviction. For information on recovery funds for storefront small businesses, visit    

Small businesses can also connect with the Office of Small Businesses and schedule an appointment to meet and speak with a case manager to learn more about available resource and services. For more information, call (415) 554-6134, or email    

Information on the City’s portfolio of resources for small businesses may be found at this link