Noe Valley Voice April 2005

Small Business: The Heart of the Local Economy

By Carol Yenne

The week of April 25-30 is Small Business Week. Small business owners in Noe Valley have a lot to celebrate. We own our businesses in one of the most desirable and livable neighborhoods in any city in the country. Our customers are often our friends, our neighbors, and our colleagues, who also own businesses in San Francisco. The people we employ are also friends and neighbors. The income we make goes back into the community and into our businesses, to create more jobs and to pay taxes to help support the services of our city and our state. The money we spend on advertising also supports local businesses (including the Noe Valley Voice).

When you spend your money at a local merchant, much of that money stays here in our neighborhood. When you make a choice to buy online or from a catalog or at a national chain, your money leaves the city, often leaves the state, and in many cases doesn't generate any local taxes or revenue.

When you make a choice to buy at your local bookstore, your local florist, or your local gift or clothing store, you are making a choice that says that you want more of your money to stay in the neighborhood and in the city and in the state. In San Francisco, there are over 28,000 small businesses employing nearly half the workforce of our city. (See the box at left for the national statistics--you may be surprised to learn how crucial small businesses are.)

If you want to make the best investment in the community and our beautiful neighborhood of Noe Valley, keep supporting your small businesses. We thank you for being our customers and for being our friends and neighbors.

Carol Yenne is the president of the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association. You can reach her at

Own Your Own Business? Gavin Invites You to a Party

Here are a few highlights of Small Business Week in San Francisco, April 25-30:

- Monday, April 25: Mayor Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco Small Business Commission, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will host a Small Business Week "Kick-Off" Reception at City Hall, 6 to 9 p.m. All small business owners--and if you work out of your home, this means you!--are invited to this gala event, which will feature the "Flavors of San Francisco," food provided by restaurants from all over the city. Register by visiting or calling 554-6134.

- Tuesday and Wednesday, April 26 and 27: The Small Business Administration and Cisco Systems will offer educational seminars at the SBA office at 455 Market Street, for people wanting to start a business or learn more about how to succeed in business. For more information, call 744-6771, or visit (click on San Francisco).

- Saturday, April 30: The city's merchants will sponsor sidewalk sales in neighborhood commercial districts throughout San Francisco, including 24th Street in Noe Valley. Contact Carol Yenne, president of the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association, at Small Frys, 4066 24th Street, if you'd like more information about local festivities. Her phone number is 648-3954; e-mail


10. Small businesses make up more than 99.7 percent of all employers.

9. Small businesses create more than 50 percent of the non-farm private gross domestic product (GDP).tt

8. Small patenting firms produce 13 to 14 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.

7. The 22.9 million small businesses in the United States are located in virtually every neighborhood.

6. Small businesses employ about 50 percent of all private sector workers.

5. Home-based businesses account for 53 percent of all small businesses.

4. Small businesses make up 97 percent of exporters and produce 29 percent of all export value.

3. Small businesses with employees start up at a rate of over 500,000 per year.

2. Four years after startup, half of all small businesses with employees remain open.

1. The latest figures show that small businesses create 75 percent of the net new jobs in our economy.

Source: Office of Advocacy, U.S. Small Business Administration

Let Bylines Be Bylines

The Noe Valley Voice welcomes submissions of first-person essays and op-ed pieces on topics of local interest. Mail manuscripts to Bylines, Noe Valley Voice, 1021 Sanchez Street, San Francisco, CA 94114; or send an e-mail to bylines@noevalley Please include your name, address, and phone number. Thank you.