Financial assistance program for black-owned small businesses in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — San Francisco’s black-owned small businesses could get a financial boost thanks to a big donation.

African-American entrepreneurs were able to get a year of interest-free loans through the city, according to a post from the CEO of the company Workday.

The dollar amount will be determined on a case-by-case basis, but of course any help is welcome.

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

He has had to pay rent throughout the pandemic and had previously applied for three grants but received no response.

The San Francisco Black-American Chamber of Commerce estimates that there are nearly 200 black-owned businesses across the city.

James White, the owner of Shoe Repair on Bush Street, tells KRON 4 that his shop is fairly new. He had expected to turn a decent profit in 2020, but when COVID-19 struck, it was like starting all over again.

Many others have suffered the hardships caused by the pandemic, but Mayor London Breed and interim vice president of the San Francisco Foundation say the problem is linked to longstanding systemic discrimination that makes it harder for black business owners to access credit.

“In this case, to have access to the kind of resources that they have traditionally been excluded from access, and this fund says we want to see you and invest in your ability to be successful,” said Eric McDonnell, interim senior director .

The San Francisco Foundation, 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.

Any business can get up to $50,000 to pay for everything from rent to creating an online presence, which could prove helpful during the pandemic.

Recipients of the African American Small Business Revolving Loan Fund will not have to pay a dime until 2022 and the repayment terms are flexible.

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

You can find the application on the website of the Office for Economic Work and Development. The closing date is this August.

More donors are needed as McDonnell says this financial aid will be phased out before all black-owned businesses currently operating in the city can benefit.

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