San Francisco Makes Investment in Filipino Community’s Economic Development and UNDSCVRD Night Market

San Francisco Makes Investment in Filipino Community’s Economic Development and UNDSCVRD Night Market

The City to Partner with Kultivate Labs to Support Filipino Small Businesses and
SOMA Pilipinas


San Francisco CA, October 9, 2018 - Kultivate Labs and SOMA Pilipinas are proud to announce funding to promote and celebrate San Francisco’s Filipino Cultural Heritage District. The Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development are supporting the economic development of SOMA Pilipinas. Together they have awarded $316,250 to help fund a seasonal night market and support emerging entrepreneurs in San Francisco’s Filipino Cultural Heritage District.

“Investments like these expand opportunities for local emerging entrepreneurs, celebrate the rich cultural history and experience of the Filipino community, and create local attractions to bring people to this neighborhood,” said Joaquín Torres, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “Through food and art, we are supporting the vitality of the Filipino cultural district and nurturing a diverse generation of new small businesses in San Francisco.”

The funding is part of a grant to Kultivate Labs and SOMA Pilipinas, San Francisco’s Filipino American Cultural Heritage District. These grants will allow for the expansion of economic development activities beyond the successful UNDSCVRD night market. New activities will draw more attention to the cultural district by funding marketing for pop-up events, initiating a merchant’s association, and seeding the development of a pop-up to permanent retail incubator. These activities will fill storefront vacancies and improve our public spaces, a priority for the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

The economic development initiative began in 2017 with the launch of a creative night market called UNDSCVRD, financed with $125k in city grants from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development and $41k raised through crowdfunding. The first season of the night market drew 35k attendees to the cultural district and generated $250k in economic activity for the community, a 2x return on investment for the city.  

Kultivate Labs’ next step in the economic development plan involves a partnership with the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, and is launching a new Business Accelerator called ‘SEED’, funded by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. SEED plans to invest $35k in professional services for six businesses in the cultural district.

“We sparked a fire in the hearts & mind of the Filipino-American community with UNDSCVRD by bringing the best elements of SOMA Pilipinas together: art, activism, 3rd Wave Filipino food, music, and dance under one roof,” shared Desi Dagnangan, Kultivate Labs Executive Director.

“Our economic development model is actually quite simple. Lead with the arts & food to draw people to the cultural district and to support emerging businesses from our community, jumpstarting economic activity."

October is also Filipino American History Month, recognized throughout the United States. Filipino Americans are the largest Asian American group in 10 of the 13 western states, the second largest Asian American population in the nation, and the oldest Asian population in the nation.

With UNDSCVRD as the first step in building a commercial corridor of vibrant Filipino businesses in SOMA Pilipinas, the private sector is taking note of the success with corporate donations doubling from last year; some of the biggest corporations in the Philippines like San Miguel and ABS-CBN are stepping up and investing in the community.

The last UNDSCVRD night market for the season takes place on October 20 from 4-10pm, entrance at 401 Minna St, with an all women lineup of performances. Featuring Pinay artists Ruby Ibarra, Rocky Rivera, Tracy Cruz, DJ Umami, and more. For more information visit

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Kultivate Labs is a non-profit business accelerator that aims to create a thriving commercial ecosystem for businesses in San Francisco’s SOMA Pilipinas cultural heritage district. For more info

UNDISCOVERED SF is a non-profit venture designed to jump-start economic activity and public awareness of SOMA Pilipinas. UNDISCOVERED SF is part of a multi-prong strategy to build a thriving new commercial corridor in the SOMA Pilipinas cultural district by 2020. The vision is to incubate a batch of innovative retail concepts, award-winning restaurants, and neighborhood-serving businesses that are culturally relevant, financially resilient, and adaptable to the market needs of all San Franciscans. The UNDISCOVERED SF night market is the first step in showcasing the very best in the SOMA Pilipinas community’s arts, music, food and emerging retail brands. For more info

In April of 2016, the City's Board of Supervisors unanimously passed legislation zoning out a massive stretch of land in San Francisco's red hot SOMA (South of Market) area. Bounded by 2nd St. to the east, 11th St. to the west, and Brannan to the south, SOMA Pilipinas represents a diverse selection of small businesses, parks, and  community service groups that have served the thriving Filipino community for decades. On August 18, 2017, SOMA Pilipinas launched their newest initiative to build public awareness and economic activity with a monthly night market: UNDISCOVERED SF. For more info