Even though National Small Business Week is over, small businesses aren’t done celebrating. San Francisco Small Business Week, held from May 21–28 this year, will highlight the achievements and contributions of San Francisco small businesses with speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities.
San Francisco small business owners are as diverse as the city itself. To assist this growing business community, here are some San Francisco resources—as well as national ones—available to encourage and support small business success. (For other local resources, check this valuable listing.)
Minority Business Owners
Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA): Part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the MBDA is responsible for developing and producing resources and programs to support minority business owners. Areas of expertise include exporting, contracting and subcontracting with government agencies, and access to capital through grants and loans.
National Minority Chambers of Commerce: Chambers of Commerce are dedicated to the economic empowerment of the business owners in their communities.
- National Black Chamber of Commerce (Local: African American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco)
- United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (Local: Hispanic Chambers of Commerce of San Francisco)
- S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce
Women Business Owners
National Association for Female Executives (NAFE): One of the country’s largest associations for women professionals and business owners, NAFE provides education, networking, and public advocacy.
National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO): There are 60 NAWBO chapters across the United States with over 5,000 members. Chapters focus on providing resources and networking opportunities as well as being a strong voice in government.
Office of Women’s Business Ownership (WBO): As part of the Small Business Administration (SBA), the WBO’s mission is to empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education, and support such as technical assistance and counseling.
StartOut.org: A nonprofit dedicated to creating great business leaders by fostering lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) entrepreneurs, StartOut produces events to educate and support LGBT entrepreneurs and currently has chapters in Austin, Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, with Seattle and Denver in development.
GayFranchise.com: A directory of gay-friendly franchisors offering opportunities to a diverse market.
San Francisco LGBT Community Center: A local resource, the SF LGBT Community Center offers a variety of free workshops and advisory programs for San Francisco-based LGBT business owners.
SCORE: SCORE’s website for veterans, guards, and reservists offers veterans, service members, and their families help starting and growing small businesses. This program, sponsored by The Walmart Foundation, is called the Veteran Fast Launch Initiative and provides one-on-one mentoring and free or discounted resources such as computer software and business services.
VetFran: Operated by the International Franchise Association, this site lists franchise systems that offer startup discounts to U.S. military veterans. Click on a franchise banner, and you’ll be directed to that company’s profile where you can fill out a form asking for more information.
NaVOBA: As advocates for veteran-owned small businesses, the National Veteran-Owned Business Association offers resources, events, and lists of states offering opportunities to veteran-owned businesses.
Veteranscorp.org: Veteranscorp offers education and training, connections to doing business with the government, and more to vets.