Principal Business Organizations in San Francisco
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Principal Business Organizations in San Francisco

It may sound hackneyed, but entrepreneurship and small businesses are truly the backbones of the U.S. economy. They are also collectively the largest employer nationwide, which is also the case in many other countries. And locally, in San Francisco, JP Morgan Chase reported that there were almost 100,000 small, non-employer establishments in 2019. Of course, 2020 will not be as impressive. Therefore, small businesses and freelance consultants must collaborate to cross-sell products and services, increase marketing reach, and create synergies. Fortunately, in San Francisco, the Bay Area at large, and across the State, there are many resources that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can access for all kinds of assistance, such as business events; webinars, which range from how to start and fund a new business, to how to market online; and one-on-one consulting.

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Some of the larger and more ubiquitous business organizations in San Francisco, as well as the Bay Area, are as follows:

Business Network International (www.BNI.com): BNI is the premier networking association worldwide. They have multiple groups in thousands of cities worldwide. Their premise is to develop core-networking groups, which consist of members from every industry and business sector. The members cross-sell their products and services within the group, and external contacts and references that the members share and refer to each other. In 2020 alone, BNI worldwide has generated more than $14 billion in revenue and have passed along more than 10 million referrals.

San Francisco Chamber of Commerce (www.SFchamber.com): the chamber of commerce is very active in promoting itself to entrepreneurs in the City and the Bay Area. Additionally, they collaborate work with other chambers since every major city worldwide has a chamber of commerce. In some cases, they have close ties with sister city chambers worldwide, should you sell your products and services internationally. The San Francisco chamber also provides resources, such as economic and workforce development; training; advocacy; and data and statistics, which can be used to develop and execute your marketing plan, as well as monitor sales trends.

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San Francisco Small Business Development Center  (www.sfsbdc.org): the SBDC is a nationwide agency with local representative offices everywhere. They are an essential resource for one-to-one advising, training and workshops, and even financing. Their services are free, and all that is required is to register with them. Afterward, you can attend their free webinars, request mentorship and coaching, and seek other professionals’ advice. Often, the SBDC employs retired entrepreneurs who work pro bono to help new business owners.

San Francisco Office of Small Business – The Small Business Assistance Center functions as the City’s central point of information and referral for entrepreneurs and small businesses located in San Francisco.

In addition, there are smaller and more focused special interest groups, which also provide networking opportunities, training, and other resources to their members. Some examples of these groups are as follows:

Asian Business League (www.ablsf.org): as the name suggests, this organization is primarily composed of Asian small business owners from San Francisco and other Bay Area cities. As in other business organizations of this type, the main goals are to provide networking opportunities, support, resources, and other relevant assistance to their members. Additionally, there is an ethnic component that is also useful in networking and working together.

Calasian Chamber of Commerce (www.calasiancc.org): the Calasian Chamber is a consortium of Asian business organizations in California. They also work with countries overseas in Asia to increase business and marketing opportunities. Visit their webpage above to see if their mission and vision are in line with your business goals.

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Golden Gate Business Association (www.ggba.com): the GGBA was the first LGBTQ chamber of commerce globally. Originally, it was developed to help support other LGBTQ businesses when there was great discrimination. Therefore, the chamber provided a directory of gay-owned businesses to all community members who preferred to patronize these businesses. In later years, it has become a special interest group for the LGBTQ community, including referrals, networking, advocacy, training, and other crucial resources needed for a successful business.

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of San Francisco (www.hccsf.com): this chamber of commerce primarily serves the Latinx community of San Francisco, as well as the Bay Area at large. As well as providing resources, advocacy, and assistance to Latinx-owned businesses, the chamber provides a community setting for Spanish-speaking business owners, who, in some cases, are still more comfortable working in their own language within the Hispanic community.

San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce (www.sfaacc.org): SFAACC, also as the name implies, is a chamber of commerce for and by the African-American community of San Francisco, which also extends out to the rest of the Bay Area. Their mission is to assist and provide business development services to members of the African-American community. However, they work and collaborate with other organizations across the City and Bay Area.

San Francisco Council of District Merchants Association (www.sfcdma.org): this organization is geared, as the name implies, to merchants in San Francisco. Typically, these businesses have an actual storefront and sell products, which, of course, entails having specific business needs and requirements such as building permits, outside seating permits for eateries, commercial taxes, and so on. Therefore, the SFCDMA provides advocacy and assistance, and focused resources for these types of businesses. Visit their website to gain a more detailed understanding of the work they do.

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SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCES

U. S. Small Business Administration
455 Market Street, 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105-2420
Tel. 415-744-6820
Fax. 415-744-6812
Website: www.sba.gov/ca/sf

Small Business Commission
City Hall, Room 448
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
Tel. 415-554-6134
Fax. 415-558-7844
Website: https://sfosb.org/small-business-commission

Small Business Loan Program
Mayor’s Office of Community Development (MOCD)
1 South Van Ness Avenue, Fifth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tel. 415-701-5500
Fax. 415-701-5501
TDD. 415-701-5503
Website: www.sfgov.org/mocd

San Francisco Small Business Development Center
455 Market Street, 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
Tel. 415-908-7501
Fax. 415-974-6035
Website: www.sfsbdc.org

Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
275 5th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tel. 415-541-8580
Website: www.rencenter.org

San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
465 California Street, 9th Floor
San Francisco, CA
Tel. 415-392-4520
Fax. 415-392-0485
Website: www.sfchamber.com

Women’s Initiative for Self Employment
1390 Market Street, Suite #113
San Francisco, CA 94102
Tel. (415) 247-9473
Fax. (415) 247-9471
Website: www.womensinitiative.org

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