Working Solutions Provides Support for Small Business in San Francisco

TMC Financing works with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide 504 loans of up to $5.5 million to help small businesses grow. But for some small businesses, it is still early to think about financing in the millions or anywhere near that scale. So where do you go if your business needs a loan of up to $50,000? Since this is Small Business Week, let’s take a look at TMC’s sister organization, Working Solutions, which provides microloans to businesses in all nine Bay Area counties, as well as providing mentoring and training in valuable business skills. 

What Working Solutions Does

Working Solutions is a Community Development Financial Institution that provides microentrepreneurs with access to capital and resources to start or grow a successful business. It lends to pre-revenue startups and established businesses and provides free business consulting and advising to borrowers for the life of their loan.

The requirements for receiving a loan of $5,000 to $50,000 are simple. The main ones are having a year of paid work in the industry you have chosen, you have no outstanding personal debts and you are able to make an equity injection of 10-20% of the loan amount. Loans have low fees and a 9-11% interest rate for a term of up to five years.

That is just the start of what Working Solutions can do for you. Once you are a loan recipient, there is support available to you in a variety of forms:

  • Business coachingquarterly meetings with our business services director to make sure you’re on track and connect you with resources
  • Mentoring – they’ll find you a mentor for you, no matter what you need help with
  • Pro-bono servicesthey partner with specialized law firms, QuickBooks and IT/technology pros and other experts who will consult with you for free
  • Workshops & networking – learn about specialized business topics, get access to partner programs and connect with other local small business owners
  • Additional financingclients in good standing are eligible for an expedited process to receive a second loan, and have access to our connections to conventional lenders for larger loan amounts
  • Promotion – on social media, in our newsletter and at our annual Holiday Gift Fair

Recently, Working Solutions has branched out to provide new forms of small business assistance with a service called Business Retention. This program helps business owners with real estate and licensing. Business Retention will help your small business find a new location, negotiate a lease or renewal or find financing for tenant improvements.

In addition, it offers assistance obtaining licenses, permits and approvals from San Francisco city agencies and can connect you with local and federal incentive programs. If you own a legacy business (one that is 30 or more years old), it will help you apply for a grant from San Francisco’s Legacy Business Historical Preservation Fund.

Working Solutions, along with ICA Fund Good Job and Pacific Community Ventures, has also just partnered with JPMorgan Chase to create the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund to make capital and business consulting more accessible to people of color. Loans of up to $1 million are available.

Where They Go from There: Success Stories From Working Solutions

Working Solutions has issued over 600 loans since 2005. Those loans, with an average size of $26,617, have led to the creation or retention of over 2,000 jobs. In January 2018, Working Solutions reached $15 million in lending. It has also provided training and education to 13,000 entrepreneurs and made $1.5 million in grants to 124 small businesses. The businesses that benefited from these loans and grants are 60% women-owned and 49% minority-owned.

Working Solution “graduates” come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are services, like the Oasis Café, which played a part in the rejuvenation of the San Francisco’s Divisadero neighborhood. Others are highly specialized niche businesses that have found places on the market due to their unique appeal, like art supply producer Case for Making.

Some graduates have grown considerably. As mentioned, Working Solutions helps clients find further funding, when necessary. Some of those businesses, like 4505 Meats, Outerlands restaurant and Four Barrels Coffee, have gone on to receive 504 loans from TMC.

You can find out more about Working Solutions and pre-apply for a Working Solutions microloan on their website. TMC Financing is an SBA Premier Certified Lender, and has funded projects worth more than $9 billion across California and Nevada, resulting in the creation of an estimated 60,000 jobs. With over 35 years of experience, TMC can help you find the financing that is best for you and guide you through the 504 loan process. Contact TMC Financing today.


Barbara Morrison, a local small business advocate and civic leader, founded her first company TMC Financing in 1981. TMC is a Certified Development Company that provides commercial real estate financing to small business owners via the SBA 504 Loan Program. TMC consistently ranks among the top certified development companies nationwide, and has funded projects worth more than $9 billion across California and Nevada. Nearly 5,000 small businesses have benefitted from this financing, resulting in the creation of an estimated 50,000 jobs. TMC is also the No.1 SBA 504 hotel lender in the United States. Barbara is also the founder of Working Solutions, a Bay Area microlender whose mission is to provide micro entrepreneurs, particularly low-income individuals, women and minorities, with the access to capital and resources they need to start a successful business.
Barbara Morrison