The Institute today is publishing a report and recommendations on ways to strengthen Washington, D.C.’s ecosystem for women entrepreneurs. The report will be unveiled during a lunch event at Google’s D.C. offices, attended by an expected crowd of 100 women entrepreneurs and ecosystem leaders.
The report, “Building Inclusive Ecosystems with Intentionality: A Strategy to Enhance Support for D.C.’s Women Founders” was authored by the Institute's Fellow Deloris Wilson J.D./M.P.A., as part of the Institute's work providing strategic and operational support for BEACON: The D.C. Women Founders Initiative, a community-led initiative to make Washington D.C. a leading destination for diverse women entrepreneurs.
The report recognizes Washington D.C.'s strength in entrepreneurship, including its growing number of women-owned businesses at a time when national levels are on the decline. However, it also identifies key areas where the ecosystem to support for diverse women entrepreneurs could be strengthened and improved. The report provides recommendations in four core areas:
- Increasing access to capital by acting with intention when targeting, engaging with anf funding women and minority-owned companies;
- Improving the organization and quality of resource delivery within D.C.’s entrepreneurial ecosystem;
- Creating new business opportunities by alleviating administrative burdens, promoting consumer-centric models, and mobilizing community partners for marketing and contracting opportunities; and
- Inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs by integrating youth outreach into existing initiatives and expanding curricular offerings within school-based programs.
The full report is available at www.bit.ly/inclusiveecosystems.
Launch of BEACON 2018 Community Campaigns
During Wednesday’s event, BEACON also unveiled four community campaigns it will lead in 2018 centered on recommendations derived from the report. These “community campaigns” will see members of the BEACON community--entrepreneurs, resource providers, and local business owners--working together on events and activations to create new opportunities in the District. For example, one such campaign will focus on mobilizing a “BEACON Next Generation Network” of local businesses that commit to supporting youth entrepreneurship initiatives across all eight wards. The campaigns will be managed by the Tech Institute, with support from Deloris and a team of Georgetown student RAs.
BEACON: The D.C. Women Founders’ Initiative is a community-led campaign to make Washington, D.C. the most influential and supportive city for women entrepreneurs in the United States. As a collaborative effort led by local entrepreneurs, service providers, policy experts and community leaders, BEACON aims to recognize and address gaps in services to better support women entrepreneurs.
BEACON is led by a Board of 11 volunteer leaders from D.C.’s entrepreneurship and policy ecosystem and receives strategic and operational support from Georgetown Law’s Institute for Technology Law & Policy and Google. Among other projects, BEACON runs an annual grant program for innovative projects to support D.C.’s women entrepreneurs, and operates the District’s largest directory of women-owned businesses and resources for women entrepreneurs. BEACON leads campaigns to address issues affecting women entrepreneurs, identifies speaking and vending opportunities for women business owners, and produces a biweekly newsletter showcasing resources and opportunities that reaches over 2000 subscribers.