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Small Businesses In San Francisco Can Now Take Advantage Of A New First-Year Free Program

First Year Free, an innovative new Citywide pilot program that waives first-year permit, initial license, and initial company registration fees for new small enterprises, was launched today by Mayor London N. Breed, Treasurer José Cisneros, and Supervisor Hillary Ronen.

A business must open a new ground-floor commercial site between November 1, 2021, and October 31, 2022 to be eligible for the First Year Free program. Only small firms with gross receipts of less than $2 million in San Francisco are eligible, and the scheme excludes formula retail stores.

“Now is the moment to start a new shop if you are an ambitious entrepreneur or a small business owner. Mayor Breed stated, “San Francisco is here to help.” “Before the pandemic, starting a small business in San Francisco was difficult and expensive, and as we move forward with our economic recovery, we must do everything we can to help local businesses.” First Year Free removes one of the most significant barriers to starting a small business in this city and demonstrates our commitment to our varied entrepreneur community.”

Supervisor Ronen proposed legislation to establish the program, and Mayor Breed and the Board of Supervisors budgeted $12 million for the trial year.

“At the moment, opening a restaurant in San Francisco necessitates around twenty distinct permissions, whereas building a retail store necessitates up to eleven.” “There is a charge for each of these permits,” stated Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “First Year Free is a statement to new, small businesses: we value your contributions, we understand the challenges you face, and we’re here to help you get started in this fantastic city.”

When a person registers a new business or a new business location with the Treasurer & Tax Collector, they will be automatically evaluated for First Year Free eligibility. Enrollment is quick for individuals who are eligible and willing to sign up. Individuals will receive an email and letter verifying their participation in the initiative, which they may present to permitting agencies to have fees waived right away. Fees that have been waived include:

Fee for the first year of business registration (for new businesses only)
Fees for the application, inspection, and one-time permission
Fees for the first license

“It’s no secret that the pandemic wreaked havoc on small enterprises.” Treasurer José Cisneros stated, “We all want to see our commercial routes prosper again.” “The First Year Free will provide new enterprises with immediate and substantial relief, free of red tape.” Our goal from the start was to deliver a streamlined Citywide experience for time-crunched small business owners.”

“The Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s First Year Free program is a fantastic opportunity for up-and-coming entrepreneurs who want to start their own business and open a new storefront in San Francisco,” said Kate Sofis, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “As our economy improves, we want our aspiring business owners to be able to pursue their dreams without having to worry about these upfront costs.” This initiative is a success and one of the city’s numerous tools for filling vacancies and lowering obstacles to support our small companies.”

The Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector is leading the initiative, with backing from the Office of Small Business and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. The Department of Building Inspection, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Public Works, the Entertainment Commission, the Fire Department, the Planning Department, the Police Department, and the Public Utilities Commission are among the city departments that are participating.

“Are you concerned that starting or expanding a small business in San Francisco will be prohibitively expensive? “The city recently made it cheaper by offering a free first year,” said Sharky Laguna, President of the Small Business Commission. “To build an inclusive San Francisco, this initiative will assist the growth and prosperity of all small companies.”

“This initiative is critical to the growth and development of Black-owned businesses in San Francisco, which have historically encountered financial challenges in launching and maintaining businesses in the city. Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali and co-founder of SF Black Wallstreet, stated, “Small business has always been the essence of San Francisco.”