Small Business Loan Programs

The Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and our community partners offer technical assistance and loan products funded by various sources such as community lending circles, crowd sourcing, and community lenders to meet the needs of entrepreneurs at different stages of their growth.  Loans are up to $250,000 offering flexible rates and terms to help entrepreneurs start, stabilize, and grow.

San Francisco Small Business Revolving Loan Fund

The City-sponsored Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) is administered by Main Street Launch, a nonprofit organization committed to serving new and existing businesses by providing access to capital, including micro loans, and technical assistance. The Revolving Loan Fund loans range from $10,000-$50,000.

  • RLF microloans are up to $50,000,
  • Interest rates on RLF microloans are fixed; Invest in Neighborhoods commercial businesses receive 3.5% interest rate, other areas the rate is adjusted to Prime + 4% (~7.75%)
  • Up to 10 year loan amortization; no prepayment penalty
  • RLF microloans can be used for start-up expenses, furniture, fixtures, equipment, tenant improvements, working capital, and marketing
  • Preliminary parameters for borrower eligibility are as follows:
    • A RLF borrower must operate a business that is located within the boundaries of the City and County of San Francisco, and
    • A RLF borrower must create or retain at least one full-time equivalent job

If you are interested in the City’s Revolving Loan Fund, please call Darius Mahajer 415-293-8134 or darius@mainstreetlaunch.org to schedule a 20-30 minute eligibility phone call.

San Francisco Emerging Business Loan Fund

The Emerging Business Loan Fund (EBLF) offers loans ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 to qualifying commercial projects. The purpose of the Emerging Business Loan Fund is to originate commercial loans that support high impact businesses and projects with the potential to increase economic activity in San Francisco as well as create jobs for low to moderate income individuals. Community lender, Main Street Launch, manages the Emerging Business Loan Fund for the City and County of San Francisco.

  • Loan amounts from $50,000 – $250,000
  • Interest Rates: Adjusted to Prime + 4% (~ 7.75%), No application fee, low closing costs
  • Up to 10 year loan amortizations, longer with real estate
  • Flexible underwriting criteria, eligible uses include: working capital, equipment, real estate, and tenant improvements

If you are interested in learning more about the City’s Emerging Business Loan Fund, please call 415-293-8134 or email darius@mainstreetlaunch.org.  Visit Main Street Launch’s website at www.mainstreetlaunch.org.

Additional Community Loan Products and Technical Assistance

  • Up to $50,000 with five-year loan terms, 8-10% interest rates and consulting for the term of the loan – Working Solutions gets to know all of their clients before and after they fund their loans so that they can develop tailored mentorship and coaching plans for your business’ needs. For more information contact them at 415-780-1217.
  • ITIN holders are encouraged to apply – Mission Economic Development Agency’s Adelante Fund offers loans up to $100,000
  • Microloans of up to $50,000 with two- to four-year loan terms – Southeast Asian Community Center provides Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(m) microloans.  Typically, the business applicant will have been unable to qualify for a conventional bank loan. No lines of credit. For more information, contact 415-885-2743 or e-mail seaccada@yahoo.com. Their office hours are 8AM to 5PM, M-F.
  • Zero-fee, zero interest credit building social loans – Mission Asset Fund helps clients participate in lending circles. By organizing low-income community members into Lending Circles, borrowers become lenders and lenders become borrowers. For more information, info@missionassetfund.org, 888-274-4808, 3269 Mission Street, San Francisco, California 94110
  • Crowdfunding zero-interest loans of up to $10,000 – Kiva Zip helps entrepreneurs access zero-interest loans to launch or expand their micro-enterprise. Endorsements are not necessary to access Kiva Zip loans, but loans endorsed by trustees have more credibility with Kiva lenders and so typically fundraise more quickly. For more information, visit the Office of Small Business at the San Francisco City Hall, room 110, or contact them at 415-554-6134 or sbac@sfgov.org.
  • Credit Unions– credit unions are member-owned financial cooperatives operated for the purpose of providing credit at competitive rates and providing financial services to its members.
  • Credit Repair – for help accessing your credit report or repairing your credit,
  • Up to $250,000 to qualifying small businesses in growth phase with annual revenues between $250,000 and $5 million. For more information, contact Pacific Community Ventures at 415-442-4300.
  • Real Estate Financing – for funding to help purchase your building, consider a Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loan.  Contact any one of these Certified Development Companies (CDCs) for more information

Loan Preparation

For free technical assistance packaging a loan application, contact a San Francisco Small Business Development Center financial consultant who will help you answer the following questions for the loan applications.

Business Planning

  1. What products/services does your business offer?
  2. What are your revenue expectations over time? How many units do you have to sell and at what price to reach those expectations?
  3. What are the expenses of the business?
  4. What does the cash flow model of the business look like – when do you have to pay for expenses and when will you be paid for your products/services?
  5. Who are your customers, and how do you define your target market?
  6. How are you planning to market to your customers?
  7. Who is your competition, and how are you different?
  8. If your business is in a commercial space, where is it located? What are the terms of your lease?
  9. What systems do you have in place to manage your financials? Your employees?
  10. Do you have all the required permits and licenses for your business?
  11. If you are acquiring an existing business, what is the acquisition price based on? 
    Do you have copies of the previous owner’s tax returns and/or financial statements?

Is a Loan the Right Answer?

  1. What specific items would you purchase with a loan?
  2. If you’re looking for “working capital,” what is happening in the business (new expansion, unexpected losses) that is causing the need?
  3. What assets (inventory, equipment, cash) and liabilities (accounts payable, credit cards, loans) does your business currently carry?
  4. How much money are you able to contribute to the business from savings and/or home equity?

Personal Finances

  1. What are all sources of income into your household?
  2. What are all the expenses of your household?
  3. Is your household income sufficient to cover all household expenses?
  4. If you own a home, what kind of mortgage do you have? Do you have any equity available to use as collateral? If you have a negatively amortizing loan, what are you plans to manage your monthly payment if/when your bill increases?

Credit

  1. What is your credit score?
  2. What is your impression of your credit score and what are your plans to improve your score over time?
  3. Do you have any recent late payments or accounts currently in collection?
  4. Have you ever declared bankruptcy? If so, explain what was happening in your life at the time.
  5. How much credit card debt do you currently carry? Are you trying to consistently pay down your principal balance?

For more information, download a summary of the OEWD business loan programs and contact information, or visit the Office of Small Business at City Hall or contact them at 415-554-6134 .