Opportunities Take Off for Small Businesses at SFO


The San Francisco International Airport hosted an outreach event this week for small, locally owned enterprises interested in operating at the airport.


About150 people participated in the two-hour program, including representatives of chambers of commerce and industry trade organizations from around the Bay Area.


Monday’s event, titled “Doing Business at SFO,” provided an overview of upcoming contracting opportunities in the areas of construction, shopping and dining.


Established small business enterprise owners at SFO related their success stories.


“Our goal is to be an exceptional airport in service to our communities,” said Airport Director John L. Martin. “Helping small businesses find success at SFO is an important part of that goal and gives travelers from around the world exposure to all the diversity, creativity and innovation that the San Francisco Bay Area has to offer.”


SFO was among the first airports in the U.S. to establish a small business outreach program, with the creation of a Small Business Affairs office in 1982.


Since then, the Airport has successfully developed strategies to overcome barriers to small business participation.


“The San Francisco Airport is doing a great job in reaching out to the small business sector with contracting opportunities,” said Wil Ussery, former President of the BART board of directors.


“I applaud them for their innovative strategies to promote small disadvantaged business participation in construction, professional services, and concession leases,” he said.


Today, 52 percent of food, beverage and retail leases at SFO are owned by small and local businesses, and airport construction projects feature more than 50 percent participation of Local Business Enterprise subcontractors that are women- or minority-owned.


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