City Announces Launch of $135,000 Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund to Support Women-Owned Small Businesses in San Francisco

Media Contact: Marianne Thompson, Office of Economic and Workforce Development
(415) 554-6297, Marianne.Thompson@sfgov.org

City Announces Launch of $135,000 Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund to Support Women-Owned Small Businesses in San Francisco

San Francisco, CA– Mayor Mark Farrell, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) have partnered to launch the San Francisco Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund (SFWEF). The Fund will provide mini-grants of up to $5,000 to local women-owned small businesses to finance projects and upgrades that will have a transformative impact on businesses’ ability to grow, including operations enhancements, merchandising supplies, space improvements, and marketing campaigns.

“We want to encourage our small business owners to follow their aspirations and grow their companies in a way that will benefit them financially and add to the unique quality of their communities,” said Mayor Mark Farrell. ”With this grant funding, we are helping our merchants grow and expand, while also working to address the historical challenges facing our female business leaders.”

Mayor Edwin Lee directed the creation of the SFWEF with the goal of providing capital support and technical assistance to women entrepreneurs. A committee of government, nonprofit and private sector stakeholders meet monthly to hear funding proposals and award grants to the most-compelling applicants. Businesses will be evaluated on a comprehensive list of criteria, including financial need, strength of their business plan, growth potential, and community impact.

The first awardee, Secession Art & Design, has operated in Mission Bernal for over a decade, providing space as an art workshop, boutique and gallery. Since opening at 3235 Mission St. in 2007, Secession has grown to represent 70 plus local independent artists and designers.

“I’m thrilled to see the first San Francisco Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund grant go to Eden. She has worked tirelessly over the past decade as a trailblazing woman small-business owner and merchant leader with a mission to create a vibrant Mission Bernal neighborhood,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “This grant will not only benefit her business’ ability to grow, but will also have a lasting impact on the artist community that Secession supports.”

“Secession Art & Design is exactly the type of business we had in mind when we designed the Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund – it supports local artists and makers, it’s an anchor for the Mission Bernal neighborhood and it’s run by an amazing entrepreneur, Eden Stein,” said Todd Rufo, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “We’re not stopping here; our goal is to make dozens of catalytic investments in women-lead small businesses throughout the City.” 

"I felt honored when I got the call that I would be receiving a $5,000 grant through The San Francisco Women's Entrepreneurship Fund. Small businesses in neighborhoods give people a sense of community,” said Eden Stein, owner of Secession Art & Design. “I am over the moon that I now have the funding to grow my business and set myself up to be a multi-use space that can support art, fashion, film, and music. Thank you to MEDA, OEWD, and our new Mayor, Mark Farrell for believing in my mission and vision to keep art and culture alive in San Francisco.”

“MEDA is excited to foster growth of female-owned businesses across San Francisco. SFWEF funding will provide much-needed grants to expand these ventures so that they can thrive,” said MEDA Business Program Manager Edwin Rodriguez.

SFWEF will deliver $135,000 in funding to approximately 27 businesses in 2018. All eligible applicants are invited to pitch their project proposal to the SFWEF Committee every 3rd Monday of the month. The committee will provide feedback to all applicants who participate and make determinations of fund awards. More information, including application materials, is available at OEWD's website.

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