Descriptive Title: Minority and women owned Local Business Enterprises

Geographic Unit of Analysis: Point

Minority and women owned business enterprises (2010)
NeighborhoodPopulation 2007Female Pop 2007MBEWBEOBE% W/MBE
Bayview/Hunter's Point 31,832 17,665 131 29 44 20%
Bernal Heights 25,309 13,678 11 7 10 2%
Castro/Upper Market 17,741 7,132 2 3 3 1%
Chinatown 7,087 4,339 5 4 2 1%
Excelsior 33,795 18,659 15 4 7 2%
Financial District/South Beach 6,025 2,752 86 51 46 17%
Glen Park
Golden Gate Park 136 45 N/A N/A N/A NA
Haight Ashbury 20,331 10,461 0 6 6 1%
Hayes Valley
Inner Richmond 33,197 19,252 7 3 9 1%
Inner Sunset 24,106 13,863 6 6 7 1%
Lakeshore 18,284 11,351 2 2 2 0%
Lincoln Park
Lone Mountain/USF
Marina 20,488 12,136 0 9 6 1%
McLaren Park
Mission 55,274 28,013 39 28 24 8%
Mission Bay
Nob Hill 23,388 13,105 6 1 0 1%
Noe Valley 16,683 8,798 2 7 3 1%
North Beach 11,996 6,124 6 13 14 2%
Outer Mission 22,528 12,610 9 7 4 2%
Outer Richmond 32,030 18,444 15 3 4 2%
Pacific Heights 15,677 9,351 3 4 4 1%
Potrero Hill 10,376 5,145 14 15 22 4%
Presidio 2,432 963 0 0 1 0%
Presidio Heights 8,028 4,900 3 3 2 1%
Russian Hill 16,458 9,644 2 6 4 1%
San Francisco 725,179 388,939 514 299 354 100%
Seacliff 3,241 1,774 0 2 0 0%
South of Market 23,260 8,079 58 46 55 13%
Treasure Island 1,340 541 0 0 0 0%
Twin Peaks 7,387 3,391 0 0 0 0%
Visitacion Valley 22,698 12,572 7 1 3 1%
West of Twin Peaks 17,743 9,793 7 5 8 1%
Western Addition 47,063 24,676 13 10 10 3%

Why Is This An Indicator Of Health and Sustainability?

Throughout history, discrimination against women and people of color has impacted their job and educational opportunities, career advancement, income and earning potential and many other factors that impact their health and economic well-being.  The promotion of minority owned and women owned businesses in government contracting processes can help address past discrimination and current issues of equity.    Studies have found that minority businesses are more likely to hire minority employeesa and contribute more total dollars to charitable organizations than non-minority owned firms.b   Local establishments help individuals gain equity through ownership.  They also generate job opportunities for residents and recycle a larger share of their revenue back into the community.c 

Interpretation and Geographic Equity Analysis

Studies have found that minority and women owned businesses receive a disproportionately small number of government contract dollars.  This disparity is particularly pronounced in jurisdictions where there are no goals programs in place.d  

In 2006, San Francisco established the local business enterprise (LBE) certification program under the Local Business Enterprise and Non-Discrimination in Contracting Ordinance.  The goal of the Ordinance is to assist small local businesses while prohibiting discrimination in the award of public contracts.  As part of this Ordinance, the city regularly monitors the number of City contracts given to women and minority owned businesses.  

LBE certification helps the City meet its goals for local business participation on City contracts.  It also allows certified firms to receive bid discounts of up to 10% and facilitates bidding by small local firms through micro-set asides.e  These benefits are particularly important for women and minority owned businesses which often have limited resources and access to mainstream financial markets.f,g  

After being certified as a local business enterprise (LBE), a business may be further classified as a Minority Owned Enterprise (MBE) or Women Owned Enterprise (WBE) if women or minority ownership must be greater than or equal to 51%.  

While MBE and WBE classification bestows no additional benefits to LBE certification, recognizing that City contracts can help increase opportunities and counter discrimination, these categories help the City measure progress towards equity goals.  Monitoring the distribution of City contracts is an important step in making sure that minority businesses are able to thrive. 

As of July 2010, there were 383 certified minority-owned businesses and 270 certified women-owned businesses in San Francisco.  One of every three minority-owned businesses was located in Bayview and one of every five women-owned businesses was located in the Financial District.  The neighborhoods with the most minority owned businesses include: Bayview, Financial District, South of Market, Mission, and Downtown/Civic Center.  The neighborhoods with the most women-owned businesses include: Financial District, South of Market, Bayview, Mission and Potrero Hill.


In order to qualify as an LBE, a business must meet the following requirements:

  1. An establishment’s primary place of business must be located in San Francisco where all services for which LBE certification is sought are conducted on a regular basis.
  2. The business must continuously operate in San Francisco and possess a current San Francisco Businesses License for at least six months prior to the time of certification.
  3. The business must demonstrate that the majority of its principles are based in its San Francisco office.
  4. The majority of the business’s employees must be based in its San Francisco office.
  5. The business must perform a commercially useful function.
  6. Businesses must not exceed maximum economic thresholds.

For more information visit, 

Woman-Owned and Minority-Owned Designation: Micro-, Small- and SBA-LBEs with either woman or ethnic minority ownership greater than or equal to 51% will be designated as being a "Woman-Owned" (WBE) or "Minority-Owned" (MBE) business in their certification letter. The woman or minority owner(s) must be the license qualifier(s) and/or possess the credentials required for the category for which they seek certification…. 

The following constitute ethnic minorities with respect to LBE certification: (i) African Americans, defined as persons whose ancestry is from any of the Black racial groups of Africa or the Caribbean; (ii) Arab Americans, defined as persons whose ancestry is from an Arabic speaking country that is a current or former member of the League of Arab States; (iii) Asian Americans, defined as persons with Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Pacific Islander, Samoan, Filipino, Asian Indian, and Southeast Asian ancestry; (iv) Iranian Americans, defined as persons whose ancestry is from the country of Iran; (v) Latino Americans, defined as persons with Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central American or South American ancestry; and (vi) Native Americans, defined as any person whose ancestry is from any of the original peoples of North America, and who maintains cultural identification through tribal  affiliation or community recognition.


Although the designation of a business as woman-owned or minority-owned is intended to prohibit discrimination in the awarding of public contracts, this designation does not necessarily incentivize the hiring of women-owned or minority-owned businesses unless explicitly stated as such in the request for bids/proposals.  Additionally, the designation of woman-owned business or minority-owned business is only applicable for businesses that may be hired through city contracts – for example contractors and construction suppliers; and does not apply to all businesses.  Many businesses that may be majority woman-owned and/or minority-owned – for example beauty salons, restaurants, or car washes – are not eligible for local business enterprise certification.  The list of goods and services eligible for LBE certification are available here: 

The location of certified women-owned or minority-owned businesses should not serve as a proxy for the location of all women-owned or minority-owned businesses in San Francisco. Various factors may affect whether a business owner seeks certification from the city, including knowledge about the program and understanding of the city contract process, language and literacy barriers, availability of human resources support/staffing to apply for the designation, the perceived benefits of the program compared to perceived costs for submitting application, social networks that may encourage or discourage participation, the amount of time/availability to apply, etc.

Data Source

Local Business Enterprise data from San Francisco Human Rights Commission, July 20, 2010 update.

Population data from Applied Geographic Solutions, Inc. Spring 2007 Update: Current Year Estimates. Methodology available at:

Map and table prepared by the City and County of San Francisco, Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Section using ArcGIS software.

Detailed information regarding census data, geographic units of analysis, their definitions, and their boundaries can be found at the following links:

Interactive boundaries map