Today, Mayor Bowser and BEACON: The DC Women Founders Initiative awarded 19 grants totaling $50,000 to support women entrepreneurs in Washington, DC. BEACON, which was launched in November 2016, brings together business leaders, investors, government leaders, mentoring networks, and other allies in a unified effort to expand funding and other resources and opportunities for women entrepreneurs.
“By partnering with BEACON, we will continue Washington, DC’s reign as the top city for women entrepreneurs,” said Mayor Bowser. “We value building a business community that represents and reflects District residents, and through programs like these, we are able to support more women as they lead the way in DC’s thriving business community.”
The grant program, the latest initiative from BEACON, will award one-time grants of $500-$10,000 to DC-based organizations. Mayor Bowser announced the grant program at South by Southwest in March, and after the announcement, more than 85 organizations and companies applied for the program and 67 advanced to a community voting round that saw over 5,000 votes cast by members of the public.
“We were thrilled by the interest in the grant program. It’s evidence that DC’s ecosystem is primed with talented women entrepreneurs and organizations ready to support them,” said Alexandra Givens, BEACON Board Member and Executive Director of the Institute for Technology Law and Policy at Georgetown Law.
The grant recipients, who will be recognized tonight at an awards celebration at Dock5 at Union Market, include:
Black Female Founders
Black Girl Vision
Canady Foundation for the Arts
Cee Smith Media Group
Global Empowerment Solutions
Tech Lady Hackathon 2017
The Black upStart
The Mentor Method
Zora & Amelia
The Bowser Administration has prioritized making Washington, DC the most supportive environment for women entrepreneurs in the United States, and BEACON is one of 43 priority initiatives identified in DC’s Economic Strategy. The Economic Strategy was published in March and outlines how the Administration is growing DC’s economy and expanding prosperity. In 2016, Mayor Bowser released the District’s first-ever report on the current state of tech inclusion with specific goals of creating 5,000 new tech jobs for underrepresented workers and creating 500 new tech businesses founded by underrepresented entrepreneurs. Over the past year, the Administration also launched DC’s Inclusive Innovation Incubator (In3), the nation’s first affordable co-working incubator focused on diversity and inclusion, and teamed with the Washington, DC Economic Partnership to create the Pathways Scholarship, a first of its kind initiative to provide tech training, mentorship, and employment services for under and unemployed communities in DC.
More information on the grant recipients’ initiatives can be found at www.thebeacondc.com/grant-program. Visit the BEACON website to learn more about BEACON or to add a women-owned business or resource for women entrepreneurs to the BEACON directory.