At a time of rising real estate values ââand exorbitant rental prices in and around San Francisco, people of color are often not taken into account. That’s not my opinion; Thatâs a fact.
According to a UC Berkeley Urban Displacement study, âBetween 2000 and 2015, when house prices rose, San Francisco lost nearly 3,000 low-income black households – a 17% decrease – mostly in historically black neighborhoods. While the low-income Asian and Latin American populations in San Francisco grew overall, they declined in historic cultural centers such as Mission, Chinatown, and SoMa. “
The consequences of this are far-reaching and not only affect families who are trying to lead a decent life. The loss of parishioners also negatively affects various business owners who – like their residential counterparts – cannot compete in such a one-sided market.
Fortunately, some deliberate effort and investment is being made to mitigate the loss of culturally rich businesses in San Francisco. especially those owned by Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC).
The San Francisco SEED Network, which was launched in 2018, exists exclusively to support BIPOC-owned companies in the entire 415 generations of Filipinos in San Francisco “and provides a lifeline for small businesses from Filipino traders who otherwise due to such an aggressive market may not be able to cultivate independently.
“Over the course of three years, we’ve helped over 20 companies by providing grants and resources, identifying their unique business needs, and resolving strategic issues,” says The SEED Network. “Our goal is to continue our track record to make more money and position our network as a local hub for the exchange of financial resources, knowledge and collaborative learning.”
Above all, SEED helps to acquire funding and to pass it on to local BIPOC companies. They recently worked with up and coming Frisco outlets like the Arkipelago Bookstore and Uncle Tito. This Filipino bookstore and restaurant is Filipinx and hip hop themed, both opened with support from SEED. From website design to management consultancy to actual financing, SEED wants to help create a level playing field.
âSEED gave us confidence because we knew we were working with people who understood our perspective and who really cared about what we needed,â says Lily Prijoles, co-owner of Arkipelago. “With the pandemic in its second year, the website they helped us with is keeping the place alive.”
Paolo Dayao, co-owner of Uncle Tito, credits SEED with a crucial help in founding his restaurant – his second attempt to create a sensation in the culinary scene after his mobile catering service STRAIGHT UP collapsed.
“By combating branding, our website and the impact on the community, SEED has helped us become more involved in the community and shape our authenticity in such a way that it is present in the Filipino culinary landscape,” says Dayao. âIt’s a great way to expand your network, evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as a team, and grow in areas that you lack in your company. and most importantly, your approach and way of thinking. SEED definitely supported us in this. ”
Now SEED is expanding and is looking for young companies to support them. The organization is seeking applicants for the next round of the grants, which will provide $ 4,000 to qualified recipients to hire a specialist to help bring their business ideas to life. While it may not seem like a life changing amount of cash, it comes in a time of need and shows the importance of how cultural solidarity still exists in the Bay Area. Perhaps more than ever, knowing and supporting these types of initiatives, businesses, and nonprofits is a way to enable local and otherwise marginalized owners to start and operate an independent business in San Francisco.
The scholarship is largely funded by Wells Fargo and backed by San Francisco’s Kultivate Labs, a “community-conscious, nonprofit arts and business accelerator dedicated to creating economic opportunity and developing a vibrant commercial corridor in the Cultural District.” Although it has been based in the city’s Filipino community in the past, SEED makes a conscious effort to work with all the different communities that could use its support. The group calls for entrepreneurs who meet the criteria to apply for the grant or support sibling companies.
As someone actively trying to support these types of businesses in the region, I can only hope that more community-based organizations will work together to give consumers more options on how to get our shoppers back into the hands of immigrants, BIPOC and otherwise Non-majority people.
To apply for support for the SEED network, visit the organization’s website.