- BUSINESS INFORMATION
- BUSINESS NEWS
- GOVERNMENT CONNECTIONS
- LEGAL RESOURCES
- NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS
- LOCAL BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS
- ONLINE TOOLS
Indiegogo is an international crowdfunding site where anyone can raise money for a creative idea or for-profit venture. The platform allows you to customize and publish an online funding campaign and no tech skills are needed. You can collect money from anywhere in the world as long as you have a valid bank account. There is no application fee. You can keep all the money you raise, even if you don’t meet your goal, or you can decide to only keep your money if your campaign reaches its goal. There is a 4% fee if you meet your goal or a 9% fee if you don’t meet your goal.
Kickstarter is a funding platform for projects related to art, comics, dance, design, fashion, film, food, games, music, photography, publishing, technology and theater. Every project creator sets their project’s funding goal and deadline and people can then pledge money to make it happen. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers’ credit cards are charged when the time expires, and Kickstarter applies a 5% fee to the funds collected. If the project falls short, no one is charged. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.
Opportunity Fund (www.opportunityfund.org)
The Opportunity Fund is a non-profit social enterprise that provides micro-loans for small businesses, micro-savings accounts and community real estate financing. The Fund helps small business that are unable to access loans from traditional financial institutions because they are either too young or too small. Median micro-loan size is $5,000. Fifty percent of their loans go to woman-owned businesses and 89% of their loans support minority-owned businesses.
Prosper is a peer-to-peer lending service, connecting people who want to invest money with people who want to borrow money. Borrowers choose a loan amount, loan purpose, and post a loan listing. Investors review loan listings and invest in listings that meet their criteria. Once the process is complete, borrowers make fixed monthly payments and investors receive a portion of those payments directly to their Prosper account. Loan requests range from $2,000 to $25,000 and individual lenders can invest as little as $25 in each loan listing they select. In addition to credit scores, ratings and histories, investors can consider borrowers’ personal loan descriptions, endorsements from friends, and community affiliations. Prosper handles the servicing of the loan on behalf of the matched borrowers and investors.
Working Solutions (http://tmcworkingsolutions.org)
Working Solutions is a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs to start or grow successful San Francisco Bay Area businesses. They provide micro loans for small businesses ranging in size from $5,000 to $50,000 and five years of post-loan business coaching and advising. Loans can be used for working capital, inventory purchases, equipment and machinery, leasehold improvements, and startup costs.
Alice Statler Library of Food Science (www.ccsf.edu/Library/alice/collections.html)
The Alice Statler Library at City College of San Francisco supports the curriculum of City College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Studies department, as well as the research needs of students, chefs and hospitality professionals from around the Bay Area. The website houses a directory of information on a variety of topics related to food, restaurants, lodging and hospitality.
Business Stats (www.bizstats.com)
This is an online source for small business statistics by industry or type of business, as well as free financial ratio calculators.
Dunn & Bradstreet (www.dnb.com)
D&B provides credit information on businesses and corporations.
Nolo Press (www.nolo.com)
Nolo Press has been a leader in small business information and openness in management. This site is a great location for books, software, legal forms and information on a range of small business issues.
San Francisco Chamber of Commerce (www.sfchamber.com)
The Chamber is an excellent local resource. Their website offers current events listings, a membership directory, and many useful resources for small businesses.
Business Week (www.businessweek.com/smallbiz)
The small business section of the Business Week website provides advice, commentary, profiles, financing and legal templates for small businesses.
Entrepreneur Magazine (www.entreprenuer.com)
This online magazine provides a variety of information for entrepreneurs. The site includes profiles and how-to tips related to starting and growing a business, money, marketing and technology—with a lot of information shared through video content.
Fast Company (www.fastcompany.com)
A progressive business magazine and website focused on innovation in technology, “ethonomics” (ethical economics), leadership and design. The website has sections that explore the intersection on business and design (Co.Design), the latest world-changing ideas and innovations (Co.Exist), and creativity (Co.Create).
Inc. Magazine (www.inc.com)
A print and online magazine targeting entrepreneurs and business owners that also annually celebrates the 500 and 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the U.S. The website includes how-to guides for business management issues, small business tools and templates, and live Q&A video sessions featuring leading entrepreneurs who answer questions via live chat.
CA Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (business.ca.gov)
This site provides information on doing business in California, including permits, registering a business, small business loan programs and other small business resources.
City & County of San Francisco (www.sfgov.org/index.asp)
This website includes links to all city departments for San Francisco-specific information and is a helpful place to learn about local bidding options.
San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (www.oewd.org)
OEWD provides city-wide leadership for workforce development, business attraction and retention, neighborhood commercial revitalization, international business and development planning.
San Francisco Office of Small Business (www.sfgov.org/sbc)
The Small Business Commission and Office of Small Business function as the City’s central point of information and assistance to small business in San Francisco. The office provides direct services through customized one-on-one assistance, collaborations with other City agencies and referrals to various small business resources. The City’s Office of Small Business has recently streamlined the permitting and licensing process for San Francisco small businesses through a new web tool called License 123, where you can download all application forms in one place.
Small Business Administration (SBA) (www.sba.gov)
The SBA provides an array of financing options for small businesses (from microlending to venture capital), free individual face-to-face and internet counseling and government contracting procurement opportunities. They also advocate on behalf of small business. Their website includes a wide array of resources and tools related to starting and managing a small business, loans and grants, and contracting, and includes online trainings, videos and chat sessions. You can find links to local SBA offices and programs via the site, too.
Small Business Development Center (www.sfsbdc.org)
SFSBDC provides free, confidential one-on-one customized consulting services and training workshops in English, Spanish and Chinese to established and start-up businesses. SFSBDC consultants are business owners with diverse backgrounds and expertise in a variety of industries.
United States Patent & Trademark Office (www.uspto.gov)
This website is helpful when researching available business names and trademark options.
California Lawyers for the Arts (www.calawyersforthearts.org)
CLA offers pro bono legal services and educational programs, including conflict resolution services, for artists and arts-related small businesses.
Lawyer Referral and Information Service (www.sfbar.org/lawyerreferrals)
LRIS is a program through The Bar Association of San Francisco that refers you to experienced and carefully screened for-profit attorneys in many different specialties. The initial 30-minute consultation costs $30 and low fee panels are available.
Legal Services for Entrepreneurs (www.lccr.com/legal-services-entrepreneurs.php)
LSE is an economic justice initiative of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. If you qualify under their application process and are able to wait for assistance, LSE provides experienced business attorneys for ongoing consultation on a pro bono basis.
LegalZoom is an online service to help people create their own legal documents. Services related to starting a business include: forming a business, naming a business, taxes, licenses and permits. Services related to running a business include: corporate changes and filings, real estate, trademarks, patents and copyrights, and business compliance.
The San Francisco Community Business Law Center (www.sfcommunityblc.org)
BLC will soon provide legal aid services free of charge for low-income microbusiness owners. The Center currently offers interactive business law workshops and will begin neighborhood business law pop-up clinics later this year.
Volunteer Legal Services Program (www.sfbar.org/volunteer)
The Bar Association of San Francisco’s VLSP has a free Legal Advice and Referral Clinic. Clients can meet with a volunteer attorney to receive brief legal advice on any legal topic, including some limited business law topics and conflict resolution issues.
CAMEO: California Micro Enterprise Organizations (www.microbiz.org)
CAMEO is the local trade organization for over 160 organizations that provide micro-financing, business training and technical assistance to California micro-enterprises. CAMEO focuses its efforts on expanding resources and building capacity for its member organizations so that they can best serve micro-enterprise in the state.
Compass Point Non-Profit Services (www.compasspoint.org)
CompassPoint provides classes, workshops and consulting services for non-profit community leaders to build the capacity and impact of non-profit community-based organizations.
LGBT Community Center (www.sfcenter.org)
The LGBT Community Center provides a range of services to help LGBT small businesses and entrepreneurs start, run and grow their small businesses. They offer free expert one-on-one counseling to address a full spectrum of business planning and marketing needs, and also offer workshops on a variety of marketing, business financing, sales, legal, human resources and small business-related topics. Special emphasis is placed on providing strategic support with loans, loan packaging and post-loan technical assistance.
Mission Economic Development Agency (www.medasf.org)
MEDA is dedicated to improving the economic and social conditions of San Francisco’s immigrants and working class families with an emphasis on the Latino community and the Mission and Excelsior districts.
National Business Incubator Association (www.nbia.org)
This site provides information on business incubation, member organizations, upcoming conferences, business incubator toolkits and an online bookstore.
Pacific Community Ventures (www.pacificcommunityventures.org)
PCV creates jobs and economic opportunity in low-income communities through the direct support of small businesses as well as by advocating for systems change to increase investment in these vulnerable communities.
Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center (www.rencenter.org)
Renaissance is an entrepreneurial training center located in San Francisco, the Mid-Peninsula and Marin offering workshops, business classes, loan packaging services, and a small business incubator program.
San Francisco Community Board Program (www.communityboards.org)
Community Boards is the oldest, longest-running public mediation service in the United States that helps San Francisco residents and businesses find peaceful solutions to conflicts through mediation, training, facilitation and helping organizations improve their communication and resolution skills. They offer conflict resolution services for a nominal fee and their mediation services are offered in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese.
San Francisco Economic Development Alliance (www.sfeda.org)
SFEDA is a collaboration of nonprofit organizations focused on strengthening and coordinating support for small and micro businesses in San Francisco. These organizations provide training, funding and on-going support to small businesses and focus their efforts on serving low- and moderate-income San Franciscans.
SCORE is a non-profit resource partners of the Small Business Administration dedicated to educating entrepreneurs. SCORE volunteers are working and retired business executives who provide free counseling and low cost workshops to help businesses get started and grow.
Urban Solutions (www.urbansolutionssf.org)
Urban Solutions strengthens underserved communities by supporting for small businesses, job creation, diversity and sustainability. Their services include: one-on-one Small Business Consulting, Small Business Development Workshops, Business Attraction, Retention & Expansion, Brokerage, and a Sustainable Business Program.
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS
Council of District Merchants (www.sfcdma.com/)
The Council is dedicated to the promotion, preservation and enhancement of San Francisco’s Business Community and is made up of merchants associations from throughout the city of San Francisco. The Council is one of the hosts of San Francisco’s Small Business Week.
Golden Gate Business Association (www.ggba.com)
For over 35 years the Golden Gate Business Association has grown, promoted and increased the visibility of San Francisco Bay Area LGBT businesses and those businesses in the community that support them. The Association organizes over 30 educational programs and networking events per year.
San Francisco Locally Owned Merchant Alliance (www.sfloma.org)
SFLOMA identifies and promotes locally owned independent businesses. Their goal is to educate and inform residents and visitors to San Francisco of the positive economic value on the community when people shop at independent retailers.
HUB Bay Area (http://bayarea.the-hub.net)
Membership at Hub Bay Area connects you to a place-based and online community of over 1,000 Bay Area and 4,000 global changemakers focused on building a better world. At the San Francisco and Berkeley HUB spaces, members can get work done, attend events on social innovation, access professional tools and services, throw meetups, and communicate their message across the global community.
Small Business Network (www.sfsbn.org)
The mission of Small Business Network is to strengthen and unify the voice of the small business community in San Francisco. SBN has a growing membership of 20 business organizations and represents more than 19,000 small businesses in the city.
A free online service that makes scheduling a meeting or conference call easy –- you create a poll of potential dates and times, share it with meeting participants, and quickly find the date and time that works best. It doesn’t require registration by either the initiator or the participants of the poll.
Dropbox is a free service that lets you access your photos, documents and videos from any computer and share them easily. It synchronizes your important work across all your devices and they are automatically backed up and available from anywhere—whether you are working on a Mac, PC, phone or tablet.
Meetup is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. You can find a meetup related to a particular interest or start one yourself.
A free online service that pulls all your financial accounts into one place so you can set budgets and track your goals.
Skillshare is a global marketplace for classes on everything from programming to design to crafts where you can learn real-world skills and connect with teachers and students in your neighborhood or from around the world.
A site enabling anyone to design professional online surveys quickly and easily and also analyze the results.