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The Voice of Small Business in San Francisco


The San Francisco Small Business Network (SBN) serves as a strong, clear, and unified voice of the small business community in San Francisco.

Our mission is to strengthen and unify the voice of the Small Business Community in San Francisco. With a growing membership of 20 business organizations, we represent more than 19,000 small businesses in San Francisco currently.

President's Message | Board Members  |  SFSBN History

President's Message
Dear Colleagues

As the newly elected President of the Small Business Network (SBN), it is my honor and privilege to lead this organization into its 25th year.  The SBN is a nonprofit, member association whose mission is to strengthen and unify the voice of Small Business in San Francisco. We are dedicated to supporting the growth of our member businesses, advocating for moderate, business-friendly city government, and influencing the health and vitality of the San Francisco small business community.

San Francisco, consistently ranked first among U.S. visitor destinations by Conde Nast Traveler, is a city of vibrant neighborhoods.  It is the small businesses, 115,000 strong (*) located throughout San Francisco’s distinct neighborhoods, that deliver the services and the experiences that create the character that attracts people – visitors, employees and employers alike – from around the globe. Small business is San Francisco’s economic engine, creating the innovation, entrepreneurship and job growth that fuel the vibrancy of this city.  When businesses, employees, residents and visitors buy from local business, the dollars stay local to sustain a healthy economy.   It is estimated 4.5 billion dollars annually are generated from small business in San Francisco. (*)

Unfortunately, small businesses are being challenged like never before, and many are questioning their ability to stay in business in San Francisco.  Over the past several years, the San Francisco regulatory environment has become increasingly oppressive for small business and unless we are able to change this situation, small businesses will close and/or flee from the city in even greater numbers. We are at a crossroads, a pivotal time in our 158-year history as an incorporated city. The SBN and its member organizations are in a unique position to impact changes that will begin to turn the tide. We can’t do it alone. We are proud to represent 19 business affiliated organizations in our membership, but we need to grow our membership and its influence. The SBN was significantly instrumental in the establishment of the city’s Small Business Commission and Small Business Assistance Center, but I know these organizations cannot truly promote business-friendly public policies without more moderate voices being added to the elected Board of Supervisors. Therefore, on behalf of our members, I urge all SBN member organizations to actively identify and assist moderate candidates running for the Board of Supervisors this November for the 7 open seats.

The SBN is also committed to urging San Francisco businesses, employees and residents to choose San Francisco businesses first when buying goods and services.

The San Francisco Small Business Network has a great Executive Director, Pat Christensen, a terrific executive board, and a dedicated group of Delegates from our member organizations.  I encourage you to get to know these folks, as they can be invaluable to helping you grow your small businesses.

Finally, thank you to the SBN Vice President. Leslie Milloy, whose efforts continue to be invaluable to both myself and the San Francisco Small Business Network.

In closing, I am proud to live and work in San Francisco, and I am passionate about driving the change this city needs to make small business prosper. Please join me in this charge by recommending organizations for membership in SBN, by becoming a collaborative (sponsoring) partner, and by joining us as our guest at the May 14, 2009, 25th Annual SBN Awards Gala as we recognize this city’s small businesses and their contributions. It’s going to take all of us working together to achieve the objectives necessary to ensure sustainable and prosperous small business remain in San Francisco.


Arthur Swanson
President, Small Business Network





(*) – San Francisco Examiner May 2008


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