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GW is bringing its entrepreneurial instruction and mentorship work to the public

In partnership with Howard University, Entrepreneur Development Network DC will offer biz-building support to D.C.-based entrepreneurs, universities, accelerators and others.

George Washington University, which hosts a part-time online UX/UI program. (Courtesy photo)

George Washington University’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) is launching a program to provide more entrepreneurial support in the region.

The pilot, titled the Entrepreneur Development Network DC, is in partnership with Howard University. It’s launching this spring via a $75,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, plus financial support from the Washington DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP) via a $30,000 grant from Pepco.

OIE has long supported GW’s faculty and students through instructional and mentorship programs focused on entrepreneurship and business creation. This new program will expand on that work by offering that same support for free to D.C.-based entrepreneurs, universities, accelerators and other entities that seek it. OIE will work closely with WDCEP, Howard and the D.C. Small Business Development Center to run the pilot.

The Entrepreneur Development Network will welcome 75 entrepreneurial teams over the term of the program this spring to receive support from industry leaders to grow their ventures. Participating teams will get help with business development, building market strategies and how to pivot business models based on the economic climate. OIE is especially focused on bringing in local minority founders and women entrepreneurs to participate. Eligible startup teams must be based in D.C. and have a scalable business idea.

“D.C. entrepreneurs will benefit from curriculum pertaining to their business stage, expert university faculty and supportive mentors who have personally experienced the joys and challenges of owning a business,” said Anna Bard, Wells Fargo Senior VP and community relations manager, in a statement. “This is a critical addition to D.C.’s small business ecosystem, and I can’t wait to watch participating businesses thrive.”

The program will kick off with a virtual workshop to introduce the teams to the Lean Startup principles of business and product development. Outside of the virtual lectures, participants will spend 10 to 15 hours a week meeting with mentors and working on program assignments. Throughout the program, instructors and mentors will be evaluating the participants to potentially place them in other entrepreneurial programming opportunities to scale their businesses.

Following the conclusion of the program, participants will be able to continue working with their mentorship teams for up to two years as they grow. Find full program details here.

Chartered in 1821, GW announces this new pilot program as it celebrates 200 years in service to higher education. The university will kick off its bicentennial celebration virtually next month.

Companies: Wells Fargo Center / George Washington University / Howard University / Washington, DC Economic Partnership

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