Small business newsletter for September 2023

Updates, trainings, announcements, and more, from the Office of Small Business
September 07, 2023

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the Mission Lotería! Mission Lotería is a “shop small, support local” initiative that combines local art, small businesses and a love for Lotería with imagery inspired by the Mission District of San Francisco. Using imagery inspired by the Mission, local artists are recreating game pieces for this shopping campaign with original icons like “El Muni,” “El Super Burrito” and “Las Muralistas.” Collect them all! 

Announcements & Highlights 

Get a permit for an existing awning  

If your business has an unpermitted, existing awning, follow steps under a new, temporary program to help you comply with City requirements.  

This Program was proposed by Mayor London Breed and Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin following a wave of anonymous complaints targeting small businesses with unpermitted awnings. Many of these awnings were installed long before the current business opened their doors. 

The Awning Amnesty Program features a simplified application and waived fees, and is open through June 30, 2024. 

Permit Specialists with the Office of Small Business are available to help - or 628-652-4949. 

Learn more 

Leases available at SFMTA properties 

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has affordable retail spaces located on the ground floor at the various parking garages.  

The SFMTA is looking for businesses that will have demonstrated the ability to finance, design, construct, and operate a business on the site, with the goal of negotiating a lease. The SFMTA intends to select businesses that complement the neighborhood, the surrounding businesses and community. 

Office of Small Business can help businesses with lease review – contact 

Learn more 

Mercy Housing seeking businesses for a new retail hub in Sunnydale 

There are six small spaces available ranging from 375 to 625 square feet; a 900 square foot café space; 2,800 square foot healthy grocer opportunity; and 2-3 restaurant spaces. Spaces will be available in early 2025. Business support training and affordable rental rates are offered. 

Contact Commercial Developer Julia Katz at for more information. 

New liquor licenses available in several SF neighborhoods 

Applications accepted Sep 11-22, 2023 

There are new Type 87 liquor licenses available through the state. These are full restaurant liquor licenses to sell beer, wine and spirits. They are available directly from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) for an application fee of $17,335. 

They are available in the following neighborhoods: 

  • Excelsior - 1 license available 

  • Ocean Avenue - 2 licenses available  

  • Noriega Street/Outer Sunset - 2 licenses available 

  • Visitacion Valley - 1 license available 

  • San Bruno Avenue/Portola – 3 licenses available 

Forms are on this page under the heading “2023 Type 87 Announcement”  

Grant applications now open: California Small Agricultural Business Drought and Flood 

Grants are for qualified small agricultural businesses impacted by flooding including food manufacturing, farm supply wholesalers, garden centers, and nurseries, among other business types.  

Read the details 

Small business legislation at the Planning Commission Thursday, Sep 7 

Our office collaborated with Mayor London Breed and Supervisors Matt Dorsey, Joel Engardio, and Myrna Melgar to introduce legislation 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; easing the legalization process for existing outdoor patios; removing certain public notice requirements; and enabling priority permit processing for nighttime entertainment, bars, and restaurants.  

We will continue to provide updates and opportunities to engage in the legislative process. 

Full legislation and details here 

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:     


Shared Spaces Equity Grants for Design Compliance  

Apply by Sept 27, 2023 

Shared Spaces pandemic permit holders who have applied for a post-pandemic permit can be awarded up to $2,500 to pay for materials or services to bring the Shared Space into compliance. The eligibility criteria have expanded – if your business wasn’t eligible before, check if you now are. These grants can also be used for removing parklets. 

Learn more and apply 

Participate in the next SF Restaurant Week 

Register by Oct 9, 2023 

SF Restaurant Week will be Fri, Nov 3rd - Thu, Nov 16, organized by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. SF Restaurant Week is a promotional campaign designed to drive traffic directly to restaurants. Participating restaurants offer special prix-fixe menus.  

They are extending this fall’s SF Restaurant Week by four days to coincide with the APEC Summit at Moscone Center, bringing thousands of diners to San Francisco.  

Learn more 

Commercial Eviction Protection: End of repayment period for smallest businesses 

Deadline: Sep 30, 2023  

Businesses with fewer than 10 full time equivalent (FTE) employees have until September 30, 2023 to complete any repayment to its property owner for missed rent that was owed during San Francisco’s commercial eviction moratorium period between March 18, 2020 to September 30, 2021.   

Since 2020, San Francisco has protected businesses by prohibiting commercial evictions because of nonpayment due to COVID-19 through the Commercial Eviction Protections Ordinance. This ordinance applies to businesses that have missed any rent that was due during the moratorium period.   

The Ordinance also gives certain businesses additional time to pay missing rent from this time period and prohibits a landlord from attempting to recover possession of the business location because of the missed payment until the end of the repayment or forbearance period.  

Visit this website for more information on whether the commercial eviction moratorium applies to you and find available resources.   

Legacy Business Spotlight 

Heritage Happy Hour at Buena Vista Cafe  

Sep 14, 5:00 – 7:00 PM 
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 Buena Vista Cafe was founded as Buena Vista Saloon at the corner of Hyde and Beach streets in 1891. The Cafe is widely known for introducing Irish Coffee to the United States in 1952, turning the neighborhood restaurant bar into an international destination. Over the years, the Buena Vista Cafe has played host to movie stars and sports stars, has inspired artists and writers, and has been featured in films and television. 

Sign up 

Webinars & Events        


Attend a webinar to learn about lease negotiation 

In partnership with the Bar Association of SF, the Office of Economic & Workforce Development is hosting Commercial Lease Negotiation Webinars. Attending one of these webinars is a requirement to apply for a Storefront Opportunity Grant.  

Find the full schedule 

SEP 19 

Responsible Beverage Service Training 

San Francisco Wine School offers the required certification for all California alcoholic beverage servers. The upcoming training is fee-based, but scholarships are available. 


SEP 21 

Legal Entities for Small Businesses 

Learn about the different types of entities for small businesses, and things to consider when choosing the best legal entity for your business. 

Sign up 

SEP 21  

Bookkeeping 101 For Small Business Owners 

This workshop by the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center provides training on essential bookkeeping skills. Learn how to streamline your financial management and make informed decisions for your business's growth. 

Sign up 

SEP 25 

Other People’s Money 

This workshop is hosted by the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center with the SF Community Business Law Center. It will help you understand legal differences between types of debt, equity, grants, and donation. It will also cover digital crowdfunding and how to avoid predatory practices and scams. 


Sep 28 

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. 


OCT 2 

ADA Opportunities for Small Businesses 

California Commission on Disability Access and the Pacific ADA Center are hosting this webinar. It will include: an overview of ADA compliance requirements that apply to small businesses in California; tips for making your business more accessible to all; and resources to help you navigate compliance. There will be time for questions. 


Shop Dine SF

A campaign for San Franciscans to spend your shopping dollars here. Visit shops, eat at restaurants, and get services 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 

Coming up 

Let’s get ready for the 2023 San Francisco Fleet Week!  

From Oct 2-9, San Francisco will host the United States Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Coast Guard personnel, as well as visitors from all over the country. 

San Francisco Fleet Week is inviting you to post your business information and special offers on the Fleet Week Liberty Guide, located on the San Francisco Fleet Week Mobile App. The "Liberty Guide" is a list on the Fleet Week app of places to go and receive discounted goods and services for military personnel and patrons of local businesses.   
Add your offer by Sep 15, 2023 

Please complete the form by clicking here