Picture perfect with spectacular ocean views, including the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is a magnet for tourists, new residents and industry pioneers. If your dream is to launch a business in the Bay Area or elsewhere in San Francisco, now is the time. Here are four of many good reasons.


The Bay Area City never sleeps

With its beautiful bay, San Francisco could probably be nicknamed Bay City. Not to be mistaken for Bay City in Michigan, San Francisco Bay is called the Bay Area. Like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City and New Orleans, San Francisco doesn’t become a pumpkin at midnight. The city hums with activity around the clock. You can take in a late night movie, and later go dining and dancing. A work-life balance is at your fingertips. After a busy work day, nothing is more calming than to watch the fog roll in and out of the bay. Consistently fair weather, a temperate climate, a vibrant urban setting, and a strong business climate attract new and established businesses. Opportunities are ripe for those interested in cashing in on the shared economy.

Vibrant business incentives

Crooner Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco. The late movie director Alfred Hitchcock filmed “Vertigo” in San Francisco because he loved the city. San Francisco offers many incentives to business developers and owners. Important to any business, whether new or established, are tax credits and incentives. Clean technology companies can get a payroll tax exclusion for up to 10 years. Until May 20, 2019, qualified businesses in the Central Market Street and Tenderloin Area can exclude a portion of payroll expenses for a specific time period. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees are eligible for a payroll tax exclusion, a boon to small business owners. Employers who compensate employees through stock incentives can qualify for a payroll tax exclusion up to specified thresholds. The stock compensation exclusion remains in effect through 2017. State and federal tax credits encourage businesses to locate, launch and grow in California. New and existing California businesses are eligible for a state income tax credit. The state grants a sales and use tax exemption to manufacturers and companies engaged in certain types of research and development. A new employment tax credit is given to qualified taxpayers and businesses that hire full-time employees eligible to work in the United States. Some tax credits and incentives have ended or expired, but new ones often emerge. More information about business assistance and development programs can be found on the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) website.

Well integrated transportation infrastructure

San Francisco’s public transportation system once consisted of quaint cable trolleys and a few buses. Since the 1960s, transportation has expanded into interconnected air and ground systems. Many U.S. cities still struggle with an outmoded or frayed mass transit infrastructure. Some have no public transit. However, San Francisco has every transportation detail in place. The city’s municipal railway (MUNI) runs on a 24-hour schedule. The vast commuter rail (BART) connects the city point to point and terminal to terminal. Workers with jobs in Silicon Valley can conveniently commute to and from work through a daily rail service between San Francisco and San Jose. The new mega Transbay Transit Center connects regional bus lines, streetcars, light rail and commuter rail lines. More public transit improvements are in the pipeline.

Resources that help launch a business

A small business needs resources to succeed. The non-profit Renaissance Entrepreneur Center helps small businesses launch in the city and the Bay Area. The center provides training, access to capital and business networks, and other services to help make a small business concept a reality. The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce helps aspiring businesses network to other resources. Also, the online San Francisco Business Portal has neat features, such as a new business starter kit. With supportive organizations such as these, no business owner should feel alone.


This article was written by Linda Cameron for CBS Small Business Pulse.


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