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Mayor Bowser Awards $1.25 Million to 16 Locally Owned Businesses Through the Inclusive Innovation Equity Impact Fund

Monday, May 2, 2022
Applications open today for second round of funding also totaling $1.25 million

(Washington, DC) Today, kicking off Small Business Week, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) and 1863 Ventures announced the first round of investment recipients of the $1.25 million Inclusive Innovation Equity Impact Fund (IIEIF), which is designed to address the gap in capital for businesses that would otherwise not receive early-stage funding through conventional financing.

“The Inclusive Innovation Equity Impact Fund was created to give more entrepreneurs in DC a fair shot at bringing their vision for a local business to life,” said Mayor Bowser. “We have plenty of creative people with the right ideas and the right amount of passion and experience, but they don’t always have access to the necessary capital – with this fund, we’re fixing that.”

The primary goal of the Inclusive Innovations Equity Impact Fund is to increase access to capital for eligible businesses. The secondary goal is to create a pipeline of eligible businesses that are attractive investment opportunities in the District and to provide 12-month individualized business plans and technical assistance to eligible businesses. Nationally, only 1% of funded startup founders are Black and investment in Black-owned businesses in the District significantly underperforms when compared to the Black population. Due to the racial wealth gap, people of color have less household wealth to draw from and are less likely to have a network of wealthy friends and family to call upon for investment. 1863 Ventures was awarded a grant to manage the IIEIF, select eligible business for investment, and provide mentorship to help them grow.

In the first round of IIEIF funding, 16 businesses will be awarded investments ranging from $30,000 - $150,000. The recipients include:

  • Homemade in DC, Manifest (Ward 1)
  • Bonnti (Ward 2)
  • Federal Contractors Inc., Zimbali Networks (Ward 4)
  • et Oliva, Foodhini, Green Panther Chef, Princess Mhoon Dance Institute (Ward 5)
  • New Era Ventures (Ward 6)
  • Tsunami Hair Studio LLC, MW Consulting, LLC, Deon Samad LLC (Ward 7)
  • CitiLife Development, Halema, Mortell Industries LLC (Ward 8)

“Mayor Bowser understands that the diversity of our businesses and the communities they serve is our strength. She is committed to supporting entrepreneurs of color, so they receive the fair shot they deserve,” said John Falcicchio, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. “As we continue to recover and revitalize DC’s economy, we are creating new funding programs that help businesses thrive in District.”

Eligible businesses are defined as businesses that have $2 million or less in annual revenue and certify that its business is unable to obtain conventional financing or is a business enterprise that cannot reasonably be expected to qualify for financing under the standards of commercial lending. In addition, the business must be a resident-owned business and a small business enterprise that can demonstrate that it is at least 51% owned by an individual who is, or a majority number of individuals who are economically disadvantaged individuals or individuals who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities.

Applications for the Inclusive Innovation Equity Impact Fund reopen today, May 2, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. For more information and to apply, please visit The application deadline is June 1, 2022.

“We are honored to partner with the District to support DC based entrepreneurs,” said Melissa Bradley, Managing Partner at 1863 Ventures. “For the past several years DC has climbed the rankings of cities that support entrepreneurs. I am proud of the support provided to businesses to date and know these funds will continue to improve the outcome of our local entrepreneurs.”

In addition, the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLB) announced the grantees of the $1.5 million Equity Impact Enterprise Grants, which provides up to $5,000 to Certified Business Enterprises (CBE) with the sub-designation of Equity Impact Enterprise (EIE) for expenses that support the resiliency of those businesses. As part of its initiatives, DSLBD will launch the 2022 Robust Retail Citywide Grants, which supports existing DC-based retail businesses in maintaining operations and viability during the current small business crisis.

As part of her FY23 budget, Mayor Bowser proposed key investments to support small businesses and entrepreneurs, including:

  • Bridge Fund 3.0 ($8 million) to continue enabling arts and entertainment venues to reopen and recover post-pandemic.
  • Commercial Property Acquisition Fund ($4 million) to support with down payment assistance for Equity Impact Enterprise-eligible businesses of up to $750,000 or 25% of the sale price, whichever is less, for the acquisition of commercial property in the District.
  • Inclusive Innovation Equity Impact Fund ($2 million) to support Equity Impact Enterprises-eligible businesses with training and investment in the form of revenue or equity-based financing.
  • Small and Medium Business Growth Program ($3.4 million) to provide new growth focused investments for DC small businesses. The community benefit includes asset building, creating job opportunities, enabling residents with greater opportunities to spend locally, and helping generate positive economic multiplier effects.
  • DC Community Anchor Partnership (DCAP) ($500,000) to helps local “anchor institutions”- place based entities including hospitals, universities and, newly, utility companies – use their procurement power to better support the growth of local, DC based minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs).

For more information on additional business funding opportunities and initiatives, visit


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