San Francisco Kicks Off Small Business Week Marking 20th Anniversary

This year’s theme, “Make it here,” focuses on the small businesses that create products in San Francisco, as well as encouraging residents and visitors to shop and dine locally to support small businesses
May 06, 2024

San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed today kicked off Small Business Week highlighting resources and citywide events in support of San Francisco’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. This year’s annual celebration will showcase events, popups, and networking opportunities across the City between May 6 – May 10 and is presented by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Office of Small Business.

The theme of Small Business Week 2024 is “Make it here,” which focuses on the manufacturing and production sectors that create San Francisco-made products. The sector generates $833 million in revenue each year in San Francisco across 550 unique manufacturers. According to a 2023 survey led by SF Made with support from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), the manufacturing sector provides 3,800 well-paying jobs in the City averaging $25/hour, outpacing state and national averages. 

“Small businesses are the heart of our communities and, every time we shop or dine locally, we are supporting the entrepreneurs who are greatly contributing to the vitality of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor London Breed. “I want to thank the Chamber of Commerce, our Office of Small Business, merchant leaders, and sponsors for ensuring that Small Business Week is a great success, and for helping make San Francisco a great city to do business.” 

Small Business Week features trainings and networking events for entrepreneurs, along with pop-ups and celebrations for the public. For more information about San Francisco’s Small Business Week and other events happening around the City, visit  

“Thanks to several key legislative changes and initiatives to support small businesses beginning in 2021, we have seen over $2.58 million in fees waived for businesses and nearly 5,000 businesses that have been able to get their permits over the counter within 1-2 business days,” said Katy Tang, Executive Director of the Office of Small Business. “In the last fiscal year, our office provided services in over 4,800 cases, ranging from individuals needing help understanding local regulations, lease review, and referrals to legal and financial experts.”

Making it easier to start and grow a business is one of nine core strategies within Mayor Breed’s Roadmap to San Francisco’s Future, and small businesses are an essential component of that plan. Accounting for approximately 95% of businesses and employing nearly 1 million Bay Area residents, the small business sector is a vital contributor to the City’s economy and vibrancy. In the past year, the City has focused on facilitating leases both Downtown and throughout neighborhood corridors.  

A good example of how the City is working with public-private partnerships to reimagine Downtown is the Vacant to Vibrant program. The City-funded initiative transforms unused spaces Downtown into pop-ups and short-term activations in partnership with SF New Deal. To date, seven participating entrepreneurs have transitioned from pop-up to permanent, long-term leases, and the successful program is set to expand later this month. 

Additionally, through the Storefront Opportunity Grant, OEWD infused commercial corridors with $2.1 million in grants to 71 entrepreneurs opening a business or expanding into a new location. Altogether, the investment in San Francisco’s small businesses has resulted in an average of 200 new business registrations every month in 2023. 

“For the 20th Annual Small Business Week, the Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to highlight San Francisco’s makers, merchants, and manufacturers,” says Rodney Fong, President and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “Small businesses are our economic and cultural engines, and we could not be more excited to celebrate their successes this year. A special thanks to Mayor London Breed, a longtime champion of San Francisco’s small businesses, and all those who join us in uplifting our local economy this week and year-round.” 

Through legislative action, San Francisco is making it simpler and less costly to start a business. The First Year Free Program is now extended for a fourth year, through June 30, 2025, waiving first-year permit, license, and business registration fees for new and expanding small businesses. Since January, over 100 changes to the Planning Code allow the City to ease restrictions, to bring more types of business into commercial corridors. Most recently, a pair of legislation introduced in April will encourage small outdoor community events through the waiving of certain fees and a simpler, annual special event food vending permit.  

“When I applied for the permits for my new photo studio through the Prop H, none of my friends thought I’d get them within the promised 30 days,” says Olga Polovaya, owner of MirrorMe, a portrait studio opening at 207 Berry St. “With the help of the Permit Specialists at the Office of Small Business, I did! Between Prop H speeding up the process and First Year Free saving me money, I’m closer than ever to opening up my dream business.” 

Mayor London Breed’s 2024 Small Business Week Awards: 

This Small Business Week, the Mayor honors six small businesses that make and manufacture their products in San Francisco. The 2024 recipients are: 

  • Z Cioccolato – 474 Columbus Ave. (North Beach) 
  • Venezia Upholstery – 332 West Portal Ave. (West Portal) 
  • San Franpsycho – 1256 9th Ave. (Inner Sunset) 
  • Dianda’s Bakery – 2883 Mission St. (Mission) 
  • American Industrial Center – 2345 3rd St (Potrero Hill) 
  • SF Market (SF Wholesale Produce Market) – 2095 Jerrold Ave (Bayview) 

“Over the past 50 years my family and I have supported and nurtured small businesses in San Francisco, creating spaces for makers of every variety,” said Greg Markoulis owner of American Industrial Canter. “Valuing community over commodity and guiding the growth of the American Industrial Center more like a family than a commercial building. We are the champions of small businesses, making a community space that is clean, affordable and safe.” 

“We are blessed to design and create our products in the best City in the world,” said Christian Routzen, owner of San Franpsycho. “There is a vibe here that you cannot get anywhere else, especially next to Golden Gate Park, in the heart of the Sunset.” 

“The Small Business Commission is honored to commemorate the 20th Small Business Week,” says Cynthia Huie, President of the Small Business Commission. “Owning a business is never easy, and this week is an opportunity to promote ways that the city helps entrepreneurs succeed.”  

The Commission promotes policy and legislative solutions to mitigate challenges and support the economic health for San Francisco small businesses. Their comprehensive annual surveying of business owners is the backbone of the Commission’s focus – to support business retention and growth; make it easier and faster to open; and to strengthen economic vibrancy.

Comprehensive support for small businesses is available year-round and free to the public from the Office of Small Business, along with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. These services include one-on-one business counseling, help with permits or leases, and connection to workforce recruitment services, among others.