Mentoring for Mature Businesses

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Enhance mentoring opportunities available to mature DC businesses, building on existing programs such as Project 500, Great Streets, Main Streets, and others, and partnering with new programs, such as Catholic University’s new program to support 100 established DC businesses with accessing to capital.

Progress Updates:

October 2019: DSLBD designated 6 new DC Main Streets Programs: U Street Main Street in Ward 1; Logan Circle Main Street in Ward 2; Cleveland Park Main Street and Glover Park Main Street in Ward 3; Upper Georgia Avenue in Ward 4; and Upper Bladensburg Road Main Street in Ward 5.

September 2019: Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC), a tuition-free executive leadership program, returned to Washington, DC in partnership with Catholic University of America. The program helps business owners in economically-distressed areas build capacity for sustainable growth in revenue, profitability, and employment. DC is home to 86 ICCC alumni, and since their participation they have averaged 17% growth in revenue, created 128 jobs, and raised $4.2M in capital. Learn more.

August 2019: DSLBD released a Request for Applications for 6 new main streets programs, bringing the total number of DC Main Streets from 18 to 24. Since the DC Main Streets Program was created, over 900 businesses and over 6,500 jobs have been created, and over $300 million have been invested in public improvements.

March 2019: 1863 Ventures concluded its inaugural HERImpact DC initiative, awarding $50,000 in cash and in-kind support to women social entrepreneurs. The organization also accepted applications for its sixth cohort of businesses for its Emerge Tech spring 2019 accelerator program, a free five-week pre-seed program for New Majority, tech-enabled businesses.

October 2018: Project 500 changes its name to 1863 Ventures after surpassing its original goal of supporting 500 entrepreneurs of color. Learn more about the significance of the name change. 1863 Ventures has established a new goal to create $100 billion of new wealth by and for new majority entrepreneurs. A new initiative is the Pipeline Program, which actively recruits and retains a pipeline of investment ready businesses who can scale through supply chain contracts, tech scouting and joint venture opportunities.

April 2018: Mayor Bowser designated the area near 14th and Kennedy Streets, NW as Uptown Main Street. Read more here.

February 2018: Project 500 opened applications for the third cohort of entrepreneurs.  Businesses with revenue under $250,000 can apply.  The program is free of charge and is open to any DC-based business owner, with a preference to assist resident-owned businesses in Wards 7 and 8. This year, the city’s budget also includes funding for a low cost micro-loan fund solely for the purpose of supporting Project 500 businesses East of the River.  Read more here. 

November 2017: Mayor Bowser kicked off Small Business Saturday at the Main Street in Ward 7, designating the area a full member of the DC Main Streets program.  Read more here.

August 2017: In 3Q FY17, Main Streets programs have provided counseling to 218 businesses located within the 12 Main Street corridors.

May 2017: The Deputy Mayor’s Office for Great Economic Opportunity partnered with Project 500, Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif), and Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to launch Ascend 2020 DC.  Ascend 2020 DC is an initiative to accelerate the growth of minority-, women- and veteran-owned small businesses by extending entrepreneurial support systems to underserved entrepreneurs and neighborhoods in DC.

May 2017: Project 500 completed its first year of operation, marking more than 260 enrolled businesses that on average increased revenue by 15%.

  • Timeline: Fy17-18
  • Lead and key partners: Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED, Great Streets), Office of the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity (DMGEO), Dept. of Small and Local Business Development
  • Related core sectors: any but with a focus on retail, hospitalty and tourism
  • Related opportunity areas: n/a
  • Related action areas: funding, talent, DC identity and promotion