SF Mayoral Candidate Wants to Be Called “Small Business Owner” Despite $100 Million Firm


San Francisco mayoral candidate Mark Farrell wants to be described as a “small business owner” on the upcoming ballot. However, he runs a $100 million venture capital firm.

This revelation comes as Farrell recently filed his paperwork to officially run for mayor in the November election. In San Francisco, candidates get to specify how they would like to be described on the ballot under their name. This provides voters with additional context surrounding the potential candidates.

As the managing director of Thayer Ventures, Farrell has found plenty of business success. But “venture capitalist” doesn’t exactly make him relatable to voters. “Small business owner” likely has a more positive connotation, mixing business acumen with someone who will keep the needs of everyday voters (or consumers) in mind.

It’s not clear if the city will accept this designation request. Farrell reportedly left blank the section asking for why this designation is accurate.

What this story does make clear is the power that the title “small business owner” holds. People in communities around the country generally revere small business owners as successful entrepreneurs who are also their neighbors and people who look out for their best interests.

This doesn’t mean that every small business owner has a clear path to run for public office or to use their title as a way to gain more public favor. In fact, those who co-opt this term for their own gain may ultimately harm the reputation of small business owners and make consumers more wary of those who claim this title.

For those who actually own small businesses, participating in your community and genuinely trying to make a positive impact can help this title continue to hold a lot of positive meaning. And overall, that’s a great thing for small businesses as they aim to connect with customers and become integral parts of the communities they serve.

Image: Depositphotos

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.