Today was a memorable day for MEDA Business Development client Eden Stein (photo, right), as Mayor Mark Farrell presented the entrepreneur with a $5,000 check to expand her venture, Secession Art & Design. Eden’s commercial gallery, which has been a fixture on Mission Street for over a decade, is the initial recipient of a grant from the San Francisco Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund (SFWEF).
“As the father of a 12-year-old daughter, I know we need to encourage more female-owned businesses,” stated Mayor Farrell (photo, left) as he handed Eden her check.
Also on hand was District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen (photo, center), who stated that a better location could not have been chosen for this first grant, as she touted the importance of helping Mission Street corridor small businesses thrive in an increasingly difficulty market.
This recently created fund is a joint project of MEDA and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) of the Mayor’s office. MEDA was chosen because of its decades of experience providing free technical assistance and one-on-one coaching to help small businesses start or expand. Interestingly, 60 percent of MEDA’s business clients are women.
“MEDA is excited to foster growth of female-owned businesses across San Francisco. SFWEF funding will provide much-needed grants to expand these ventures so that they can thrive,” said MEDA Business Program Manager Edwin Rodriguez. Secession Art & Design was also the recipient of a November 2016 Adelante Fund loan.
SFWEF will improve the small-business environment for women entrepreneurs in San Francisco, plus foster collaboration among female business owners and local technical-assistance providers. Grants of up to $5,000 will be offered for projects and upgrades that will showcase immediate impact on the ability to expand a business.
Grantees will receive funds for: business operations improvements; marketing needs, including window displays, lighting, signage, layout improvements, design changes, online marketing, trade shows or customer-acquisition opportunities; streamlining of financial/accounting systems; and new equipment, technology, trainings or networking.
All eligible applicants will be invited, on a rolling basis, to present their project’s proposal to the SFWEF committee, which holds monthly pitch nights.
The review committee determines grantees and funding amounts based on the following criteria:
- Potential for business growth and expansion due to the project;
- Capacity and expertise of the entrepreneur;
- Quality of relationship with technical-assistance provider;
- Feasibility of the project; and
- Impact of the grant award on the project’s success.
Secession Art & Design represents 70+ artists, with 75 percent locals. Explained Eden of the need for this grant for her small business: “I felt honored when I got the call that I would be receiving a $5,000 grant through SFWEF. Owning a small business in San Francisco has been a test of patience, persistence and resilience. All the things I dreamed up for this grant were items that were not in this year’s Secession budget. I am over the moon that I now have the funding to grow my business and set myself up to be a multi-use space that can support art, fashion, film and music. The grant will fund a video sharing my story, photography, business coaching and support, and a projector and screen so I can start to show indie films. Thank you to MEDA, OEWD and Mayor Mark Farrell for believing in my mission and vision to keep art and culture alive in San Francisco.”