About

The community-led campaign to make DC the #1 city for women entrepreneurs. 

Our Mission and History

Women’s entrepreneurship is on the rise, but data show that women still face disproportionate challenges gaining access to capital and other resources that businesses need to thrive.

Just one in ten venture dollars goes to companies with a women founder.  On average, women start their businesses with half the capital of men.  Women of color face even greater barriers: of 10,284 venture deals funded from 2012-2014, just 24 involved startups led by black women—about 0.2 percent.

BEACON: The DC Women Founders Initiative is a community-led campaign to disrupt that narrative.

Our goal is to make Washington, DC a model city to demonstrate how investors, companies, mentors and government can work together to ensure women entrepreneurs have an equal opportunity to succeed.  Partnering with public and private entities, the Initiative will make Washington, DC the most influential and supportive ecosystem for women entrepreneurs in the United States. To do so, BEACON combines direct community engagement with rigorous analysis to drive policy recommendations, while also supporting ecosystem leaders and strategists through a unique grant program. Our work prioritizes four pillars, informed through direct consultation with DC's women founders: 

  1. Expanding women entrepreneur's access to capital 
  2. Providing resources and support for women entrepreneurs 
  3. Creating new business opportunities for women entrepreneurs 
  4. Inspiring the next generation of women entrepreneurs 

BEACON launched in November 2016 as a bold public-private partnership to support women entrepreneurs in Washington, DC. With leadership from Google, Georgetown Law, and the D.C. Mayor's Office, as well as grassroots energy from a broad network of women entrepreneurs, BEACON's goal is to demonstrate how businesses, service providers and government can help ensure that women entrepreneurs have an equal opportunity to succeed. 

Our Team

AERICA SHIMIZU BANKS

Google (Patent Policy)

ALEXANDRA GIVENS

Executive Director, Institute for Technology Law and Policy at Georgetown Law

SHELLY BELL

Black Girl Vision (Entrepreneur & Founder)

XINA EILAND

Black Female Founders; X+PR (Founder)

SHANA GLENZER

MakeOffices (CMO)

ANNA MASON

Revolution (Director of Investments, Rise of the Rest)

JOY WHITT

Office of the DC Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development (Program Analyst)

DELORIS WILSON

Fellow, BEACON/Inclusive Innovation

Our Sponsors