The Institute’s Executive Director, Alexandra Givens, was today sworn in to the D.C. Innovation & Technology Inclusion Council. The Commission advises D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and local agencies on strategies to promote new opportunities in the innovation and technology sectors. Professor Givens will serve a three-year term.
Professor Givens’ seat on the Council recognizes the Institute’s work leading BEACON: The D.C. Women Founders’ Initiative, a community-based project to support diverse women entrepreneurs across Washington D.C. Founded in 2016, BEACON brings together local entrepreneurs, service providers, policy experts and community leaders to identify and solve gaps in resources for women entrepreneurs. In addition to research, BEACON runs an annual grant program that funds innovative projects. It operates the District’s largest directory of women-owned businesses and resources for women founders. BEACON hosts or co-hosts regular programming, leads campaigns to address issues affecting women entrepreneurs, identifies speaking and vending opportunities for women business owners, and produces a biweekly newsletter that reaches over 3000 subscribers. It shares ongoing insights with national organizations including the National Women’s Business Council and the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship.
Our Institute Fellow, Deloris Wilson (L’16) works full time on the BEACON initiative, managing strategy and operations from the Law School with the support of law student RAs. Her recent research highlights gaps and opportunities in D.C.’s entrepreneurial landscape: Building Inclusive Ecosystems with Intentionality: A Strategy to Enhance Support for D.C.’s Women Founders.
The Institute’s work on BEACON builds on a rich tradition of the Law School supporting business owners in the community, including Professor Alicia Plerhoples’ Social Enterprise & Non-Profit Law Clinic, and the Law, Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation practicum taught by Professor Anthony Cook. You can read more about BEACON’s work at www.thebeacondc.com.