Startups

Shorties Roundup: A fresh $1M for DC founders and other startup news to know

Plus, Mayor Bowser has $2 million for startup founders, learn about a bonus startup competition and see how DC Council is voting for small business bills.

Money, money and more money.

(Photo by Pixabay user nattanan23, used under a Creative Commons license)

Update: This post has been updated since publication to clarify that $10,000 goes to each founder selected for the DC-based Comcast R.I.S.E. program, as well as that this DC iteration began in 2021. (9/14/22, 1:10 p.m.) 

Comcast RISE has $1M for DC founders

First launched in the fall of 2021, Comcast’s RISE’s DC program is back with a fresh $1 million for 100 lucky local founders.

Today, the internet giant announced that it was awarding an additional $1 million in small business grants for local founders from marginalized groups, which will be distributed as $10,000 grants to 100 founders. So far, 230 founders in DC have received grants through the program. Comcast’s statement described the recipients as “women and people of color, including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian American owners, among others.”

“Entering our second round of the Comcast RISE Investment Fund in DC, we have seen firsthand how impactful these funds can be for small businesses owned by women and people of color in the city,” said Michael Parker, senior VP of Comcast’s Beltway Region, in a statement. “We are proud to strengthen our commitment to the Washington D.C. small business community and ensure underrepresented entrepreneurs have access to the funding and digital tools they need to thrive.”

Grant recipients will also receive business coaching thanks to DC’s Ureeka, as well as access to an online networking community. On top of the investment, interested founders can apply for a marketing services grant, technology makeover grants or monetary grants.

Apply here starting Oct. 3

The Inclusive Innovation Equity Impact Fund is back

This week, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and 1863 Ventures opened applications for its latest round of the Inclusive Innovation Equity Impact Fund.

The fund officially launched last year with $1.25 million available. This year, it’s offering $2 million. In its inaugural class, 15 businesses received funding through a process overseen by 1863.

“We know that small businesses are going to play a big role in our city’s comeback — and we want Black-owned businesses leading the way,” said Mayor Bowser in a statement. “With the Inclusive Innovation Equity Impact Fund we are able to give local entrepreneurs a fair shot at turning their ideas into businesses. Now, we want to spread the word that applications are open and we have nearly $2 million available.”

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To qualify for the funding, businesses must be equity impact enterprises with less than $2 million in annual revenue, owned by a DC resident and at least 51% owned by an underrepresented founder. They also must be unable to receive conventional funding or not qualify for financing through commercial lending.

Apply here by Jan. 31

Startup Competition: Part Two

If you didn’t make the cut for the official DC Startup Week pitch competition, there’s another chance for you to pitch your company to the (local) startup world.

Selina Union Market, a DC hotel, is hosting a startup competition on Thurs, Sept. 15 for local entrepreneurs. Winners will receive a spot in the TechnoArt@Selina innovation program, which helps founders grow their company in the global hotel network. Judges and speakers include Tristah Jehan, CTO at TechnoArt; Rosemarie Truman, founder and CEO of the Center for Advancing Innovation; Troy LeMaile-Stoval, TEDCO CEO; and Ann Chiang, VP of investor relations at Selina.

Apply here

DC’s Chamber of Commerce has a voting guide — for startups

Ahead of the election, DC’s Chamber of Commerce released a DC Council Voting Scorecard. The scorecard is designed to show how DC Councilmembers voted on various bills impacting the business community. The Chamber hopes that voters can use this offering to make decisions in November.

The scorecard lists out councilmembers and key bills and amendments from the last six years, with a “y” or “n” indicating how each member voted. The Chamber said it picked these bills based on how they impacted the DC business community. The scorecard also includes two recent amendments on income tax rates. Other bills were selected according to how they might discourage current and new businesses from operating in DC.

“The scorecard serves as a reminder of the responsibility that we all share in reviewing the decisions of our elected officials and assessing their performance as it relates to issues that are important to our community,” said Angela Franco, president and CEO of the Chamber, in a statement. “The DC Chamber of Commerce is committed to advocating for and educating our members on policies that support business development and advance healthy, balanced economic growth. As the voice of the business community, we want to ensure our members stay informed on the important measures each of our elected officials are called upon to consider.”

Check out the scorecard here
Companies: 1863 Ventures, Comcast
People: Muriel Bowser
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