San Mateo Co authorizes millions of small business assistance

San Mateo Co authorizes millions of small business assistance

The 2021 SMC Strong Small Business Assistance Program would provide 200 grants of $10,000 each to qualifying small businesses.

This is different from previous grant programs which were administered on a first-come-first-served basis, which put some businesses at a disadvantage if they did not have access to digital tools.

Applications for this small business grant program will open in August. Then, the San Mateo Credit Union Community Fund will administer grants on a rolling basis in September and early October.

To help businesses apply, the county plans to continue partnering with the Peninsula Chinese Business Association and Environmental Innovations to provide door-to-door outreach in multiple languages.

Story Highlights

  • First, the Board of Supervisors allocated $2 million of federal funding for small businesses that have not received other relief funding in the past year.

  • To apply, businesses need to submit a short preliminary application and then grantees will be randomly selected.

Second, the supervisors introduced an ordinance that would allow food sales from home kitchens.

The “Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations” ordinance will create a process for permitting home kitchens under the county’s Environmental Health Services Division, in accordance with state law.

Director of the Environmental Health Services Division, Heather Forshey, said that the program was designed to create an entry into food business entrepreneurship by minimizing overhead and allowing people to use their residential space to make food. The ordinance goes into effect in 30 days and will stay in place for a two-year pilot period.

The supervisors also allocated $238,000 of federal funds to the Health Services Division to cover the administrative costs of regulating these home food sales. Forshey said that the county will begin accepting permit applications in August and permits will be issued in October.

Once the permits are issued, permit holders can apply for grant funding to help with startup costs, like food safety training, advertising, marketing and web presence. Permit holders could receive grants of $2,500, as the Board allocated $62,500 to provide grants to 25 permit holders. Several people called in to Tuesday’s meeting to support the ordinance, including representatives from Shef, a home meals delivery platform, and Foodnome, an online legal marketplace for homecooked food in the U.S.

The county’s new law would mean that people could prepare food for sale in their own homes. Third, the county allocated $500,000 to micro food businesses, such as cottage food operators, caterers, food trucks and food carts.

“This takes away from time with our family and is an inconvenience since we have to transport our supplies and ingredients back and forth,” the caller said, adding that the new law would help families gain supplemental income while creating a more flexible schedule. One Daly City resident who uses Shef said she’s had a good experience using the platform but has to travel to San Francisco to use a commercial kitchen.