Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.


Executive Office of the Mayor
Menu Button

Mayor Bowser Opens Applications for $1.25 Million Inclusive Innovation Equity Impact Fund

Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Grant Funding Will Be Managed by 1863 Ventures and Will Provide Capital to Economically Disadvantaged Businesses

(Washington, DC) – Today, during DC Startup Week, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development launched 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. Mayor Bowser also announced 1863 Ventures as the fund manager for the IIEIF to support fund administration and disbursement of funds to successful applicants.

“Right now, we’re very focused on how local businesses can play a big role in DC’s comeback, and the Inclusive Innovation Equity Impact Fund is going to support those efforts,” said Mayor Bowser. “This fund is one more way we recognize that in DC, our diversity is our strength.”

The Equitable Impact Assistance for Local Businesses Act (D.C. Official Code §2-281.01 et seq.) (the “Act”) authorized the establishment of the IIEIF, with the primary goal of increasing 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/technical assistance to eligible businesses. The fund will be used to develop investment opportunities for eligible businesses, including venture capital and other sources of backing.

“All DC entrepreneurs deserve a fair shot, and this fund is one of the ways we are working to provide that,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “Some businesses experience more hardships than others, making it more difficult to obtain funding from commercial lenders and IIEIF was created to level the playing field by helping those businesses that have been overlooked and underfunded.”

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 Grants open today at 3 pm. For more information and to apply, please visit The application deadline is June 1, 2022.

“Over the past couple of years City leadership has propelled the District to be ranked as the #11 startup ecosystem in the world. Moreover, according to the DC Policy Center annual data through Q4 2020 shows there was a 5 percent increase in total private establishments in the District between 2019 and 2020. Now is the time to ensure that the growth of businesses in DC is equitable for all,” said Melissa Bradley, Founder of 1863 Ventures. “1863 Ventures is honored to partner with the city to support New Majority entrepreneurs. We are excited to be stewards of these funds to support historically underserved and overlooked businesses in the city. The funds will be used to help grow and scale emerging entrepreneurs who will in turn create jobs and increase the capital recycling in all of our communities.”

1863 Ventures is the #1 national business development nonprofit for New Majority Entrepreneurs; individuals who have been historically marginalized (e.g. BIPOC). The DC based non-profit organization’s mission is to create $100 billion in New Wealth, by and for New Majority Entrepreneurs, by 2030. 1863 was founded by Melissa Bradley, entrepreneur, VC investor and Georgetown University associate professor. In the last year, 1863 Ventures has supported over 800 founders, 2,000 new jobs, 93% survival rate during COVID and 123% year over year returns.