Launched just three years ago, ladies apparel company NV BLUE is one of the thousands of small businesses that have emerged from San Francisco's tech boom. Founder Nicole Murphy explains that she has a business "because of the tech industry".

"Access to affordable and attainable e-commerce platforms, as well as cloud accounting and marketing platforms are just a few of the fundamental components of our business that enables us to exist and thrive," she said, adding that being a cloud-based, e-commerce outlet has also enables her to enter international markets with minimal fuss.

There are more than 3.6 million small businesses in California. And according to the BEA, California averaged a disposable income per capita of nearly $43,000 in 2014, which was more than $2,000 higher than the national average. That wealth tends to cluster around the Bay Area, Silicon Valley and L.A.

Behind New York, San Francisco is the second most densely populated city in the US. Meaning small businesses have a rather large audience to sell to.

"San Francisco has been a fantastic city to start a business in, we felt supported from day one and that base of support stems directly from our local customers who care about companies that are looking to give back to their community," she said.

"We are very lucky to be a company that has one foot grounded in the tech sector - embracing e-commerce, and being early adopters of Xero - and the other foot firmly planted in local manufacturing."

NV BLUE has managed to set up all of its pattern making, sewing and cutting operations in San Francisco.

"American manufacturing is at the core of our business. We make clothes for a busy woman's lifestyle that are exceptionally made but sold at a fair price," she said, noting that increasing overheads are taking a toll on smaller businesses.

"The rising cost of rent which has squeezed many small businesses including ours and our manufacturer. These rising costs have pushed us all to diversify our businesses, businesses

Cloud technology and empty parking lots helping to solve San Francisco's space problem

Dealing with San Francisco's housing shortage first hand, land-sharing platform Campsyte is applying the lean startup approach to transform San Francisco's vacant lots into smart, interim communities.

On an underutilized parking lot south of Market Street, Campsyte's minimal viable product has been erected - a recycled shipping container that can be stacked three stories high to create offices, retail spaces or temporary housing.

The distinctive metal containers revolutionized the shipping industry, but now they're transforming the way we use inner city spaces. From Shoreditch in London, to Christchurch in New Zealand, Hayes Valley or The Yard at Mission Rock in San Francisco, these modular and relatively cheap containers enable pop-up communities to be established. Acting as storefronts, restaurants, gardens, homes or offices.

The case for modular spaces like this in SF is even more compelling, considering the vast housing shortage crippling the city and the fierce competition companies face for office space, these temporary buildings are one interim solution.

Born and raised in the Bay Area, CEO and co-founder Dennis Wong started Campsyte about a year ago, after working in an architecture, engineering and construction practice since college.

"This idea started out of our own engineering office where we had extra space and it was a tough time in the economy. We were struggling to pay rent so we opened our office space up to other firms to rent space," Wong said.

"We saw such a demand that we ran out of space very quickly. We would look outside our window and there's this parking lot right there, we're like: 'We've got to do something with that.' That's how we started out."

Campsyte, which builds and operates smart modular spaces making it easy for lot owners to generate revenue and for renters to find unique communities, was an opportunity born out of some of the challenges San Francisco's tech boom has placed on the already overcrowded Californian city.

"We have a lot of land in these urban environments, in big cities like San Francisco and New York, and they're just wastelands of parking lots in highly desirable ZIP codes. So, our concept is to activate those unused lots," Wong said, adding with the rise of services like Uber and Lyft, the way people commute is changing leaving many once packed parking lots empty.

"Our cities are changing so fast, there's not really any good solution that is a short-term viable product that can really help the ebbs and flows in economy or changes in cost of living," he said.

Campsyte and NV BLUE are just two examples of how San Francisco's burgeoning tech sector is creating new opportunities for small businesses who are willing to put the software that the companies around them have developed to solve real economic problems and meet changing consumer demands.

"We've integrated a lot of technology that would be very costly in a typical building. We use app-based door locks, app-based door bells and app-based heating and cooling sensors, as well as alarm systems," Wong said.

"The benefit to having these different services integrated on one platform is time. We're a small team, and instead of having to make sure that our information is inputted correctly in multiple locations, we just input it once and it syncs seamlessly."

Published on: May 26, 2016