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Home | Special Feature | City of San Antonio: Fostering Small Business Growth and Sustainability

City of San Antonio: Fostering Small Business Growth and Sustainability

image $246 million was paid to 503 S/M/WBEs, representing 49% of the City’s contractural spending on contracts in which the SBEDA program applied.

EXTENDING THE REACH - The City of San Antonio works hard to encourage a thriving entrepreneurial climate and promote the growth of our local small, minority, and women-owned business (S/M/WBE) community. To accomplish this task, the City has various programs to help small businesses succeed at all stages of development, whether they are at the ideation, startup, or growth phase. These programs help S/M/WBEs access City contract opportunities, receive free mentoring and consulting, and address access to capital through lending opportunities.


Access to City Contract Opportunities
    The Small Business Economic Development Advocacy (SBEDA) program was created to increase and promote the equitable use of S/M/WBEs on City contracts. The program leverages the City’s purchasing power and offers incentives and tools for both S/M/WBE prime contractors and subcontractors. Last year, a total of $246 million was paid to 503 local S/M/WBEs. This figure was the largest spend to date since the program was established, and represented 49% of the City’s spending on contracts in which the SBEDA Program applied.
    While the City of San Antonio purchases multiple services and goods in varying industries, the construction industry historically presents the greatest opportunities for S/M/WBEs, as the majority of City contract dollars are spent on streets, drainage, and facilities projects.  The chart below represents the dollars spent last year by the City within the construction industry to S/M/WBEs.

Free Mentoring and Consulting Services
    The City’s Business Empowerment Program offers free mentoring for small business owners through a partnership with the Alamo Colleges District. The program aims to grow S/M/WBEs through an educational component and mentoring from experienced and successful firms. Since 2012, graduates of the program have reported $61 million in revenue, a 24 percent increase since entering the program. The first phase of the program features a series of educational courses that include the following as an example: How to Write a Business Plan, Access to Credit, Marketing, Managing your Financials, Sustainable Business Practices, and Legal. The second phase of the program allows participants to be paired with an wexperienced and successful mentor for two years. During this time, mentors and protégés work together on various goals. The program concludes with a graduation ceremony and celebration of the protégé’s growth and success.
    In addition to the Business Empowerment Program, the City of San Antonio has a partnership with LiftFund to manage Launch SA, which is an accessible entrepreneurial resource center that helps those interested in becoming an entrepreneur identify existing business resource partners and access programming to spur the creation of their small businesses and enhance their sustainability. Located within the Central Library, Launch SA also hosts various community business resources on site, such as the City’s Small Business Liaison who serves those in need of information regarding permitting, licensing, and regulatory issues.

Access to Capital
    S/M/WBEs that experience difficulty accessing capital through traditional lending mechanisms have the ability participate in the City’s Loan Interest Buydown Program, pending the availability of funding. In partnership with LiftFund, this City program offers qualified S/M/WBEs  0% interest loans to assist with various business needs such as  starting or expanding a business, employment, or for the purchase of property, inventory, and equipment. Annually, this program has assisted 35 to 40 S/M/WBEs receive loans that collectively total between $700,000 and $800,000.

Contact the City of San Antonio to Learn More:
    Any business owner, either established or in the beginning stages of business can visit www.sanantonio.gov/smallbusiness or contact the Small Business Office at (210) 207-3922 for more information on the City’s various small business programs.  We look forward to hearing from you!


Amanda Reyna
City of SA/ Economic Development Department


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