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, BEACON demonstrates how investors, companies, mentors and government can work together to ensure women business owners have an equal opportunity to succeed.
BEACON reduces the barriers that directly impact women business owners by:
- Connecting the ecosystem. BEACON connects women entrepreneurs to each other and to resource providers that can help them thrive. We do this through a free, interactive online directory, a bi-weekly newsletter, community engagement, and informational support.
- Assessing the ecosystem, then mobilizing to improve it. Seeded through an academic partnership, BEACON studies the ecosystem for women entrepreneurs, provides recommendations and mobilizes support for service providers, funders and other ecosystem participants to improve offerings and resources for women founders. We do this through partnerships, event activations, and the BEACON Grant Program.
BEACON’s model is a virtuous cycle in which entrepreneurs share feedback on how their needs can best be met, while resource providers receive informed, thoughtful recommendations on the best ways to support. Click here to view our initial assessment of Washington, D.C and 2018 Impact Snapshot.
BEACON launched in 2016 as a bold public-private partnership to strengthen the ecosystem for D.C.'s women entrepreneurs -- and to learn lessons we hope to share across the country. With leadership from Georgetown's Institute for Technology Law & Policy, the Office of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and grassroots energy from a broad network of women founders, BEACON demonstrates how investors, mentors, and government can work together to ensure women business owners have an equal opportunity to succeed.
Founded by a volunteer, working board of women leaders across disciplines, BEACON quickly scaled to create a robust grassroots network of over 3,000 women founders and resources, collaborated with over 50 partners, and funded 30 ecosystem-builder organizations. As an "umbrella" organization, BEACON formed to drive connectivity among ecosystem actors and uses human-centered design to incorporate entrepreneurs into solution-creation. BEACON's community is comprised of over 51% women of color representing a variety of industries.
The Founding Team
Alexandra Givens | Executive Director, Georgetown Institute of Technology Law and Policy
Anna Mason | Director of Investments, Revolution
Shana Glenzer | Co-Founder, DCFEMTECH
Joy Whitt | Presidential Innovation Fellow
Xina Eiland | Founder, XinaPR
Joy James | Tech & Innovation Portfolio Manager, Government of the District of Columbia
Shelly Bell | Founder, Black Girl Ventures
Aerica Banks | Patent Policy, Google
Deloris Wilson | Founder/Principal, AXL Impact Studio