Small business newsletter for December 2023

Updates, trainings, announcements, and more, from the Office of Small Business
December 05, 2023

For many of San Francisco’s small businesses, the holiday season is a busy time. Dozens of neighborhoods, community groups, and organizations host events, which offer great opportunities to enjoy the season while shopping and dining locally. From Lakeside Village’s Candlelight Celebration on December 21 to the Yerba Buena Holiday Art & Makers Market from December 7-10, and dozens in between, we hope that small businesses throughout San Francisco enjoy a bright and prosperous holiday!  

Follow @ShopDineSF on social media to get frequent updates on events throughout the City. Email if you would like to have an event supporting local businesses included on @ShopDineSF.

Announcements & Highlights 

Small business legislation supported by Board of Supervisors  

The Board of Supervisors today supported legislation on first vote (out of two) that our office collaborated on with Mayor London Breed to introduce in June to facilitate easier permitting for small businesses, encourage economic recovery and growth, and fill commercial vacancies in San Francisco. Through over 100 changes to the Planning Code, the legislation will serve to ease restrictions, such as: allowing more business uses on the ground floor to help fill commercial vacancies; lifting restrictions on bars and restaurants in certain neighborhoods; removing certain public notice requirements; and enabling priority permit processing for nighttime entertainment, bars, and restaurants.  

Full legislation and details here 

Share feedback on proposed Business Tax Reforms 

The Treasurer & Tax Collector’s Office and Controller’s Office have been undergoing an effort to reform San Francisco business taxes with the goals to: 

  • Reduce risk of tax loss from remote work / relocation 

  • Reduce reliance on commercial property 

  • Reduce volatility stemming from over-concentration 

  • Greater simplicity and predictability for taxpayers 

  • Greater equity for small business   

The recently developed proposed business tax reform concepts are available here. Please review and follow up with any questions or feedback no later than December 13th through this link

Final recommendations will be submitted to the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors before the end of the year.  

Visit the business tax reform project website to stay updates. That page also includes information about how the current taxes work. 

Need an entertainment permit for your special holiday event?  

Submit your One Time Event permit applications for holiday and New Year's events to the Entertainment Commission as soon as possible so that their staff can prepare your permits in time during the busy holiday season.
Apply for a One Time Indoor Event permit 
If your business already holds a Place of Entertainment or Limited Live Performance permit, you can also apply for this permit if you wish to extend your hours of indoor entertainment beyond your permitted end time.  
Apply for a One Time Outdoor Event permit 
Questions? Email or call 628-652-6030. 

New initiative to produce live outdoor performances 

Applications are now open for SF Live, a new initiative to produce a new series of live performances presented by San Francisco’s entertainment venues at outdoor parks and plazas.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. This program is managed by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. 

Learn more and apply 

Recology rates will increase starting on January 1, 2024 

Monthly collection rates will increase by 1.33%, impacting recycling, composting, and garbage rates for residential, apartment, and commercial customers in San Francisco. According to Recology, the rate increase will ensure current collections service levels are maintained, while enhancing certain services to keep City streets clean, bolster infrastructure to reduce contamination in the City’s waste stream, ensure safety of drivers, and provide some flexibility for unforeseen service needs. 

Permits required for collection and transport of mixed construction & demolition debris 

San Francisco’s Construction and Demolition Debris Recovery Ordinance requires any company or person that collects and transports mixed construction & demolition debris from San Francisco jobsites to obtain an annual or temporary permit. Annual permits issued in 2023 expire on December 31, 2023. San Francisco Environment Department (SFE) is now accepting applications for 2024 annual permits. 

To learn more, visit SFE’s website, email, or call 415-355-3799. 

Office of Small Business in the Community 

Let us know if you would like the Office of Small Business to visit your corridor and share resources for small businesses. Please send requests to:      


Sell Black: Grow your online presence  

Apply by Dec 15 

Sell Black: Grow Your Online Presence is a 14-week digital marketing training program from En2action to support Black-owned businesses in operating competitively online.  

Learn more and apply 

Annual survey of entertainment and nightlife businesses 

Submit by Dec 31 

The SF Entertainment Commission is looking for anonymous feedback from business owners (including self-employed people), business managers, and non-profit executives. The purpose of the survey is to understand the continued economic impacts of the pandemic on the industry, the latest needs and challenges affecting the industry, and its priorities for continued recovery.  

Submit the survey 

Complete the Department of Building Inspection’s (DBI) Customer Satisfaction Survey 

Submit by Dec 22 

The anonymous survey should take five minutes of your time and will provide DBI with valuable insight on what’s working and what needs more attention.  

Submit the survey 

New RFP from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) 

Apply by Jan 17, 2024 

RFP #228 intends to deliver $9.1M in critical programs and initiatives citywide, with particular emphasis on economic corridors, communities and business sectors that have been most adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These programs will be administered through OEWD’s Business Development, Community Economic Development, and Small Business Divisions. Programs will begin April 1, 2024 or later, and most are eligible for renewal through June 2030. 

All inquiries can be directed to our Contracts unit at 

Read the details 

Legacy Business Spotlight 

Heritage Happy Hour at Li Po Lounge 

Dec 14, 5:00 – 7:00 PM 
Heritage Happy Hours offers a casual “no-host” gathering of heritage professionals, young preservationists, aficionados, friends, and Legacy Business cohorts interested in safeguarding San Francisco’s unique architectural and cultural identity. 

Li Po Lounge, named after one of the greatest poets in China’s Tang dynasty, is the oldest bar in Chinatown and a popular destination with locals and tourists. The bar’s Chinese Mai Tai, a trademarked drink developed right here in Li Po Lounge, is one of the most delicious and popular drinks in town. 

Sign up 

Webinars & Events        

DEC 8 

Virtual Office Hours for entrepreneurs 

Get feedback on your small business ideas from a business advisor. Learn to structure an initial business idea, and start market research. Hosted by the SF Public Library and SF Small Business Development Center. 

Sign up 

Dec 11 

Small Business Commission 

The meeting agenda includes: a review of 12 Legacy Business Registry Applications; a review of upcoming SFMTA projects that will impact small businesses; a presentation from the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector on the City’s ongoing efforts to review the City’s current business tax structure and develop recommendations for needed reforms; a review of recent legislation to simplify permitting for sidewalk amenities such as planter boxes, murals, string lighting; and a review of the current Legacy Business Grant structure and discussion of potential improvements to the Rent Stabilization Grant. 

The full meeting agenda and details are on the Small Business Commission website

DEC 14 

Virtual Legal Clinic 

Join Legal Services for Entrepreneurs for a 1-hour consultation with a volunteer attorney. Registration in advance is required and spots are limited. 


DEC 18 

Get Ready for Your 2023 Taxes 

In this workshop with the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, get accurate information that will help you understand how to comply with your tax obligations and cope with filing federal taxes in the next tax period. 


Shop Dine SF

A campaign to support businesses in San Francisco. Visit shops, eat at restaurants, and get services and experiences from the small businesses that make San Francisco special. 
Visit or follow the campaign on social media to find events and initiatives across San Francisco! Share events supporting businesses and commercial corridors by emailing

Website  |  Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Twitter 

Buy locally-made gifts this holiday season 

San Francisco-made products are great options when purchasing gifts, for family and friends as well as for clients and employees! Browse dozens of options, from specialty food to customizable items, made locally and ready to ship!  

Find more 

If you operate a small business and make your product in San Francisco, email to be added to this list. 

City Hall Holiday Pop-up Shop  

The City Hall Pop-up, in partnership with Square, SF Chamber of Commerce, and the San Francisco Arts Commission, showcases 45 small and unique San Francisco makers.  This annual tradition is a great opportunity to get unique holiday gifts for friends and family. Presented by Shop Dine SF and curated by long-time pop-up vendors Billie Marie Goods and Coffee & Cream Press. 

List of vendors