Faulconer Says Relief Fund Has Helped More Than 2,000 Businesses
Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Wednesday that more than 2,000 businesses in the city have received grants from San Diego's COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund, impacting nearly 10,000 full-time jobs with half of the recipients operating in underserved communities.
"Across the nation, small businesses are closing in alarming numbers because of the pandemic. We're doing everything we can to stop the hemorrhaging of small businesses in San Diego," Faulconer said. "We've been able to help 2,000 businesses survive for another day, but we know the need is great so I encourage San Diegans to do what they can to support their favorite local businesses during these trying times."
Faulconer created the fund in March to offer support to local employers so they could sustain operations, retain employees and address unforeseen reductions in consumer demand and production. The fund is backed by emergency relief funding under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, private donations and available federal funding already accessible to the city.
"When COVID shocked the entire world, leaving many without income, our business took an enormous hit financially, yet we insisted on providing free food for anyone in the food and beverage industry who had lost their jobs," said Anderson Clark, co-owner of Common Stock restaurant in the Hillcrest neighborhood. "Despite the steep drop in sales, bills for rent, electricity, and for the nine employees whose schedules and insurance we maintained were piling up — yet the grant from the San Diego Small Business Relief Fund allowed us to keep our team employed, our rent paid, and allowed us to weather this storm."
Nearly 10,000 small businesses submitted applications in the initial application period. To date, the fund has topped more than $20 million. Some of the top-aided industries include hospitality and food services, technical and scientific services, health care and retail. Remaining funds will be awarded to existing applications as made available.
"As a former small business owner and current chair of the city's Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, this year was originally intended to be one in which we sought to develop and expand economic opportunities for all San Diegans," City Councilman Chris Cate said. "Due to COVID-19, it has become one in which we are trying to save businesses, jobs and the livelihoods that come with them."
The City Council approved the reallocation of $700,000 from the Small Business Relief Fund to create a non-profit partnership aimed at helping businesses in historically underserved communities through direct grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, specialized outreach and technical assistance.