WASHINGTON (WDVM) — District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser kicked off D.C.’s Small Business Week with the announcement of funding totaling $1.25 million for local small business owners.

The announcement was made today alongside the Office of Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) and 1863 Ventures.

The funding is the first round of investments for recipients that make up 16 small businesses in the district. The 16 small businesses received between $30,000 to $150,000 in investment funding.

The $1.25 million is a part of the Inclusive Innovation Equity Impact Fund (IIEIF), which is designed to bridge the wealth gap in small businesses and minority owners.

“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 fund’s goal is to increase access to capital for eligible businesses, with a secondary goal of making eligible businesses more attractive to investors within the District. The fund will also provide 12-month individualized business plans and technical assistance to business recipients.

The 16 businesses awarded in the first round of IIEIF funding 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)

Applications for the second round of IIEIF funding open today and close on June 1, 2022.

To be considered an eligible business, owners must have $2 million or less in annual revenue and be able to certify that their business is unable to obtain conventional financing or commercial lending. Eligible businesses will also need to demonstrate that it is at least 51% owned by an individual, or a majority of individuals who are economically disadvantaged or have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias.

“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.”

For more information and to apply, please visit bit.ly/dcinnovate.