San Diego Mayor Relief Fund Helps 2,000+ Small Businesses Weather Pandemic   

Continuing to deliver economic relief and aid recovery efforts for San Diego businesses impacted by COVID-19, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer announced more than 2,000 businesses have received grants from the City’s 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,” Mayor 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.” 

In a swift response to the businesses forced to close because of the pandemic, Mayor Faulconer created the Small Business Relief 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 fueled by emergency relief funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, private donations and available federal funding already accessible to the City.

The initial response was overwhelming with roughly 10,000 local small businesses submitting applications. To date, the fund has topped more than $20 million, benefitting more than 2,000 small businesses and impacting close to 10,000 full-time equivalent jobs in San Diego, including sole proprietors. Some of the top aided industries include hospitality and food services, technical and scientific services, healthcare 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. Due to COVID-19, it has become one in which we are trying to save businesses, jobs, and the livelihoods that come with them. I am pleased to see that in District 6 alone, 290 businesses received more than $2.3 million dollars from the City of San Diego’s Small Business Relief Fund,” said City Councilmember Chris Cate. 

Businesses operating in economically vulnerable and historically underserved communities, including the Promise Zone, Opportunity Zone, Low- & Moderate-Income Census Tracts and other economic corridors have been most impacted by COVID-19. In a commitment to promote an inclusive economic recovery, 50% of the funding made available by the CARES Act is to be awarded to businesses operating in the Promise Zone, Opportunity Zone, Low- & Moderate-Income Census Tracts. Adding to that commitment, Mayor Faulconer won unanimous City Council approval to reallocate $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.

To be eligible for grant assistance through the SBRF, businesses needed to meet the following criteria:

  • Must be located within the City of San Diego
  • Employ no more than 100 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employees or less, which may include businesses that are sole proprietors, family-owned, or home-based
  • Have a City of San Diego Business Tax Certificate
  • Been operational for at least 6 months
  • Provide proof of economic hardship due to COVID-19

For information regarding economic relief, please visit