SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — San Francisco is offering a series of financial recovery grants to help businesses design storefront improvements and assess their space for accessibility upgrades.

The grants are being awarded by the city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) through its Office of Small Business and Invest in Neighborhoods division.

The investments support small businesses with professional design services such as architects, and engineers, and also provide reimbursements for Certified Access Specialists to assess the physical space of the storefront and help guide improvements. 

The announcement comes as the city continues to recover from the pandemic. San Francisco is offering grant funding to businesses wanting to ensure their storefronts are safe, accessible, and visually appealing. In addition to these grants, the city said it recognizes that many businesses are still struggling and need to apply for further capital to maintain their operations and accelerate their recovery. 

“As San Francisco re-energizes, we recognize that small businesses are critical to our economy and the San Francisco civic fabric. After two years, we see how hard our small businesses fought to stay alive during the pandemic, and we hope these grants will help them turn the corner and recover,” said Kate Sofis, Executive Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. 

The series of financial relief will be rolled out in two phases: the first phase will provide grants to storefronts for technical design services and the second phase will look to provide grants to those that already have a plan in place to implement improvements. 

“Prior to the pandemic, most small businesses did not have the financial flexibility to make improvements and upgrades to their storefront spaces.  These grant programs are designed to give small businesses the boost they need so they can better adapt to changing operational needs and be better suited to welcome all types of customers in this new era,” said Katy Tang, Executive Director of the Office of Small Business. 

To date, San Francisco has distributed over $63 million in grants and loans to support over 3,300 small businesses. The grants and loans target minority-owned small businesses and complement state and federal financial relief.    

Applications for the grants are now available. OEWD said it anticipates distributing the funds sometime in the summer. 

Other services offered

Additionally, the city continues to provide one-on-one counseling and technical assistance and services to small businesses looking to open, operate, and expand in San Francisco. Information and services are also available for businesses that can’t pay back rent and are looking for assistance to prevent a commercial eviction. For information on recovery funds for storefront small businesses, click here.

Small businesses can also connect with the Office of Small Businesses and schedule an appointment to meet and speak with a case manager to learn more about available resources and services by calling (415) 554-6134, or email sfosb@sfgov.org