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Today, I’m happy to share that Salesforce and grant administrative partner Ureeka have notified 180 San Francisco small businesses that they’ll be receiving $10,000 grants this month to help them stay afloat as communities continue to struggle due to COVID-19.
Back in April, we introduced our first small business grant program in response to the shutdowns due to COVID-19. Small businesses were among those hit hardest given fewer resources and a reliance on in-person transactions. Those grants, which totalled over $5,000,000, gave 300 businesses across the U.S—as well as businesses in Australia, Canada, Singapore, and the UK—the additional funding needed to help make rent, pay insurance, rehire employees, or pivot their businesses to remain relevant. Businesses like tutoring company Tungsten Prep have been able to invest in themselves to grow their digital marketing skills, and Black hair accessories company SwirlyCurly is developing new product lines to adapt to customers staying at home more. You can read more about these stories and other recipients that adapted to the myriad of challenges.
We knew an additional local grant was important to help fill the hole left from not hosting an in-person Dreamforce event this year. Ordinarily, the event brings thousands of people to San Francisco, who in turn eat at restaurants, shop in stores and utilize services from small businesses throughout the city.
In October, we announced a second round of small business grants and partnered with SMB mentorship platform Ureeka to administer the program. This is timely, on the heels of a second “Stay at Home Order” as small businesses throughout the city are again challenged to find new ways to be resilient and persevere.
To extend a hand to our San Francisco community, we worked with partners like Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, Mission Economic Development Agency, and the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce to reach small businesses in neighborhoods across the city. With their help, our grants reached a diverse group of businesses, including 50% women-owned, 22% Black or African American-owned, 30% Latinx-owned and 13% LGBTQIA-owned. Recipients included local businesses like:
- Frisco Fried: Marcel Banks is the third generation in his family to feed the Bayview community where he grew up. He has built a reputation for his famous lemon pepper chicken, which has become a citywide fan favorite. This grant will help to invest in catering and make sure his restaurant stays open seven days a week despite rising costs for supplies, as well as remain a pillar in the community.
- Garden Creamery: Based in the Mission, Erin Lang and Donald Capozzi’s ice cream shop was bustling as a popular meet-up spot after dinner, or a hangout on the weekends before COVID. They shifted to pre-ordered pints to ensure they had guaranteed revenue to stay afloat, and have felt the community come together as they see regulars pick up every week. They hope the grant will help them to re-open the shop for scoops and continue to create ice cream flavors with local and in-season ingredients that their customers love.
- Geomantic Salon SF: Owned by Zeon Kitchener, who grew up in the Western Addition neighborhood and takes pride in building a business in his hometown. As hair salons are faced with another closure, he plans to use the grant as a cushion for rent and insurance, as well as employee education to help his team further their careers and recruit new talent.
- Latin Jewelers: Tomas and Dolores Pena take pride knowing they are a part of creating lifelong memories when customers come in to purchase wedding rings or repair family heirlooms. They have built years of customer loyalty in the community, and customers today learned of the business from grandparents and parents who shopped at the same store and were treated like family. Tomas and Dolores hope to create an ecommerce site, a necessary tool to grow their family business in today’s world, and advertise to let the neighborhood know they are still here to help create memories during this time.
Although it’s a difficult time, I’m encouraged and optimistic as the community embraces small businesses in new ways, with a greater appreciation for “shopping small” this holiday season. After nine months facing the pandemic, we heard countless stories of small businesses shifting to invest in technology and engage with customers digitally. With vaccines on the horizon, we are hopeful for a new day where life can return to its pre-COVID normal. We are proud to be part of this community and enthusiastically rally around small businesses.
Read more about our small business grant recipients on our blog and meet the rest of the recipients in the list below.