Financial relief program for San Francisco’s small Black-owned businesses

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – San Francisco’s small Black-owned businesses could be getting a financial boost thanks to a big donation.

African American entrepreneurs could get loans that are interest-free for one year through the city after a contribution from the CEO of the company ‘Workday’.

The dollar amount will be case by case but certainly, any help is welcome.

Hudari Murray, the owner of Newbill Barbershop in San Francisco, is hopeful about this renewed opportunity.

He has had to pay rent throughout the pandemic and previously applied for three grants but didn’t hear back.

The San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce estimates there are nearly 200 Black-owned businesses throughout the city. 

James White, the owner of Shoe Repair on Bush Street, tells KRON 4 his business is fairly new. He was expecting to make a decent profit in 2020, but when COVID-19 hit, it was like starting all over again.

Many others have suffered hardships brought on by the pandemic but Mayor London Breed and interim VP of the San Francisco Foundation explain that problem is coupled with long-standing systemic discrimination that make it challenging for Black business owners to access loans. 

“To have access in this case to the kind of resources they have traditionally been excluded to have access and this fund says we see you and we want to invest in your capacity to thrive,” Eric McDonnell, interim senior director said. 

The San Francisco Foundation, along with Main Street launch, the African American Chamber of Commerce, and the city of San Francisco are partnering to provide $1.5 million in interest-free loans.

Each business can get up to $50,000 to help pay for anything from rent to creating an online presence that could prove helpful during the pandemic.

Recipients of the African American Small Business Revolving Loan Fund won’t have to pay a cent until 2022 and the repayment terms are flexible.

Applicants must have been operating for at least five years in San Francisco. 

The application can be found on the Office of Economic Workforce and Development’s website. The deadline is this August.

More donors are needed because McDonnell says this financial aid will run out before all Black-owned businesses currently operating in the city can benefit.

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