Small business newsletter for February 2024

Updates, trainings, announcements, and more, from the Office of Small Business
February 05, 2024

February has many reasons to get out and patronize San Francisco’s small businesses: Black History Month, Lunar New Year, Valentine’s Day, and the 49ers in the Super Bowl! Visit for self-guided tours of many of San Francisco’s commercial corridors. 

Announcements & Highlights 

49ers in the Super Bowl this Sunday, February 11 

We hope that football fans celebrate responsibly. Here are some tips for businesses: 

  • Sign up for text alerts about Super Bowl related issues in San Francisco

  • Secure your garbage cans and exterior furniture 

  • Call 911 for crimes and emergencies 

  • Call 311 for non-emergencies 

Review the recommended reforms to San Francisco’s business tax system 

Treasurer José Cisneros, Controller Ben Rosenfield, and the City’s Chief Economist Ted Egan have issued recommendations to San Francisco’s business taxes. They are intended to frame the development of a measure for the consideration of the voters in November 2024.  

The recommendations are intended to mitigate risks in the current business tax structure in San Francisco, advance broad goals of simplicity and predictability for taxpayers, and promote greater equity for small businesses.  

Review the recommendations

Get Free Personal Tax Filing Help 

San Franciscans who earn under $64,000 can get free tax filing help. This may include individuals filing a Schedule C on their form 1040 for business income. There’s help to apply for tax credits that can add up to as much $9,600. SF Human Services Agency’s nonprofit partners and other free tax preparation locations across San Francisco make it easy to file personal taxes safely and securely for free using online tools or in-person service options. Get more details here, or call 2-1-1. 

Understand music licensing to play background music 

Businesses playing music, even background music, need to have permission from the music licensing company. There are many 3rd party services you can pay for that covers most music. Or you can purchase an annual license for each licensing companies separately. Some businesses can be exempt and play the radio or TV if their space is small enough. But to qualify, the business owner must not charge an admission fee nor play any other music other than radio and TV. Personal streaming services don’t count as radio.  

Music licensing a legal issue, so it’s best to speak to an attorney if questions or issues arise. 

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:      


New lease negotiation webinars for the Storefront Opportunity Grant 

This grant program from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development helps business owners find a location, negotiate a commercial lease, and open a new storefront in San Francisco. You must attend a Commercial Lease Negotiation Webinar before applying for the OEWD Storefront Opportunity Grant. Here are two upcoming webinars: 

Feb 7, 1:00 PM 

English with Cantonese translation services 

Sign up 

Feb 8, 1:00 PM 


Sign up 

Learn more about the Storefront Opportunity Grant 

SF Annual Business Tax Returns 
Due by Feb 29 

Local taxes include Gross Receipts Tax, Administrative Office Tax, Commercial Rents Tax, Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax, and Overpaid Executive Tax.  

You are exempt from filing if your combined taxable gross receipts in the City are less than or equal to $2,190,000.  

Learn more 

Apply for the Vacant to Vibrant pop-up program 

Apply by Feb 23 

Vacant to Vibrant is a program that supports small businesses, artists, entrepreneurs, and cultural organizations to connect to local property owners to create engaging pop-up experiences and community spaces in downtown San Francisco. Pitch your idea to get in on the ground floor to build up a different downtown. Learn more and apply here. 

If you are a property owner interested in hosting a pop-up, please apply at 

New federal reporting for most companies 

Beginning on January 1, 2024 

Most companies (such as LLCs, partnerships, and corporations) must now file “Beneficial Ownership Information” with the federal government. Existing companies have until January 1, 2025 to file, but new businesses have only 90 days. Sole proprietors and non-profits are among the business types that may be exempt and don’t have to file. Learn more and then file online. Questions can be submitted here. 

Two ongoing grant programs supporting small businesses: 

Accessible Barrier Removal Grant 

All businesses with public locations are responsible for ensuring their businesses are accessible to individuals with disabilities, no matter how small. This grant program can reimburse you for up to $10,000 in accessibility inspections or for making your business more accessible.  

Learn more and apply 

Shared Spaces Equity Grant 

Get paid up to $2,500 to bring your Shared Space into compliance. Update: this program is now available to small businesses citywide. 

Learn more and apply 

Legacy Business Spotlight 

Heritage Happy Hour at Irish Bank Bar & Restaurant 

Feb 8, 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. 

The Irish Bank is one of America's most authentic, historically accurate, and romantic Irish pubs located in San Francisco’s downtown. 

Sign up 

Webinars & Events   

Feb 8 

Zero Waste Events 

Join SF Environment to learn about SF's new zero waste requirements and auditing process for events. This workshop is in person at 49 S Van Ness. Event producers seeking a special event permit with City of San Francisco agency must attend one of the following Zero Waste Events Trainings. 


Feb 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.  


Feb 12 

Build a Strong Online Presence 

Establish a professional website and leverage social media platforms. This workshop is being held by the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center to help you build your marketing strategy. Sign up or login to their client portal to register. 

Feb 27 

Operating a Successful Food Biz in a Rising Cost Economy 

Rent, labor and supplies are key pressures to financial sustainability & thriving in the hospitality industry. This webinar by the SF Small Business Development Center will address these with strategies for success. 


Feb 27 

SFO’s 2024 resource fair 

This event will be in person at 49 S Van Ness from 9:00 AM-1:00 PM. It features a wide range of resources and opportunities for small business owners to learn about current contracting opportunities. 


Feb 29 

Virtual Legal Clinic 

Get free business law advice at the monthly virtual legal clinic from Legal Services for Entrepreneurs. Be sure to register in advance. 


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

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