The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted industries across the board. While there are many resources out there to help small businesses during this time, it can be overwhelming. How do you start? What resources are best for you? How can you apply? These are all questions that SF-based nonprofit GlobalSF (www.globalsf.biz) is prepared to help you with. We speak to Executive Director Darlene Chiu-Bryant to lean more about the organization and what services they can provide to local businesses.
What is GlobalSF and what is its mission?
GlobalSF is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to paving the way for international companies to locate, invest, and grow in the San Francisco Bay Area while helping locally based companies expand into global markets.
GlobalSF started operating as an independent non-profit in 2018, building upon the reputation and goodwill developed by ChinaSF, which was started in 2008 by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom. Recruiting and attracting more than $5.3 billion in foreign direct investment to the San Francisco Bay Area and helping more than 1000 companies over the years, ChinaSF, LatinSF and SFAsia continue to be part of the program, and remain public private partnerships with the City of San Francisco under the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.
What is your target population in terms of service?
GlobalSF, while based in San Francisco and started by the city, has grown its footprint to serving the Greater Bay Area and now even Northern California. As a global platform, we are here to connect businesses who either start or come through San Francisco from overseas. Since we became an SBDC affiliate program, we officially started serving clients outside San Francisco Bay Area. Before GlobalSF, we were three independent bilateral focused initiatives, China and San Francisco, Latin America and San Francisco, Asia and San Francisco. Now, Mexican companies landing in San Francisco want to do business in China, and Chinese companies are looking to go global, Asian companies are partnering with European companies based in San Francisco. It's so much more fun now, we just connect the dots and play matchmaker!
How have you pivoted services in light of the pandemic?
As you can imagine, GlobalSF has had to look at the services we already provide, and how we can translate those services and skill sets to help only local businesses. It was easy to jump on the train to join other SBDC advisors and help our local small businesses with disaster relief. It has been amazing that there are so many businesses out there who don't realize that the government actually cares and can provide some relief.
What can businesses come to GlobalSF for?
Businesses can come to GlobalSF to ask about what kind of support the local, state and federal government can provide during these challenging times. Since GlobalSF is an SBDC affiliate office, we can and are providing clients with information on the SBA programs, such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and help them navigate the Paycheck Protection Program.
Small businesses can also come to GlobalSF if they want to partner with any of the local government agencies, such as providing a service. We have already connected Zum to provide services to the SFUSD. This is a good partnership, they are doing their part for disaster relief while keeping their employees gainfully employed and working!
What information should businesses have before they reach out and/or talk to you?
Small businesses should first of all try to do some research on whether they want to apply for the EIDL or the PPP. If they do not know where to start, they could log on to norcalsbdc.org/covid-19. This will help them think of questions to ask us once we connect. Most importantly, if the businesses are thinking of applying for the PPP, they should first check with their banks to see if they are offering the program and how to qualify.
Any tips for businesses trying to navigate resources right now?
Businesses should not be afraid to ask as many questions as they can think of. The more they ask, the more they learn.
How can businesses contact you?
Please contact us at: email@example.com or sign up to get an advisor: nc.ecenterdirect.com/signup
Photography by: From top: Eduardo Santo/Unsplash; Cytonn Photography/Unsplash