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BEACON Awards 19 Grants to Organizations Supporting Women Entrepreneurs

BEACON began as a vision to identify strategies for best supporting DC's women entrepreneurs. As an ecosystem builder, we sought to identify and close gaps in service delivery, impact and outreach to ensure that all of DC's women entrepreneurs could receive the support they deserved.

Through the 2017-2018 BEACON Grant Program, BEACON intended to reach diverse populations of women entrepreneurs, expand their access to capital, and create a coalition of women entrepreneurs who support each other's successes. BEACON awarded a total of $50,000 to organizations supporting DC's women entrepreneurs. Through an initial application, public voting, and final review process, BEACON

Selected awardees leveraged skills building, networking opportunities, and direct investment through engaging programming that responded to at least one of BEACON's core focus areas. Though not required, almost all awardees will power their initiative in partnership with another DC-based organization - feeding into the collaborative nature needed to support thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems.

See below for a brief synopsis of the funded initiatives. Be sure to check back for full features on each as they unroll their programming in the weeks and months to come!

Black Female Founders - To support women of color entrepreneurs in an eight-week pre-accelerator program that aims to build confidence, social capital, and community.

Black Girl Vision - To support a crowd-funded pitch competition connecting women of color entrepreneurs to capital, investors and business development support.

ByteBack - To complement ByteBack’s technical training programs with new programming focused on entrepreneurship for women entrepreneurs in underserved areas of D.C.

Canady Foundation for the Arts - To support the Miss Media Conference, a one-day conference educating and empowering young women of color to develop critical skills in media arts and connecting them to local women of color media entrepreneurs.

Cee Smith Media Group - To support “Hustle Camp”, a weekend-long training for LGBTQ entrepreneurs who operate within the creative arts sectors, innovate beyond the status quo and serve the queer community.

Design Choice - To create a "skills first" directory connecting D.C.'s women freelancers to job opportunities, helping to create new business opportunities and address the gender-pay gap.

District Mugs - To help improve the lives of homeless women in D.C. by increasing opportunities for consumers to purchase coffee mugs made by homeless women.

Francie Pants LLC - To support a workforce development program that offers free sewing classes and contracting opportunities in support of women’s financial independence.

Global Empowerment Solutions - To support “Holiday Hustle”, a full-service training and retail program that turns a six-week business development curriculum into a unique retail showroom that increases new business opportunities for women entrepreneurs.

HeraHub - To support a mentorship roadshow responding to women entrepreneurs’ challenges with time constraints, access to seasoned mentors, and the need for directly applicable advice.

MET Community - To support a cross-cultural program that inspires, connects and supports aspiring Latina women entrepreneurs in D.C. and connects them to African-American and Asian-American women-owned businesses in the area.

Nubian Hueman - To support an eight-week course teaching young girls in Wards 7 and 8 how to manufacture, market, merchandise and manage a fashion-related business.

Springboard Enterprises - To support a special series of "Dolphin Tank" pitch competitions that will partner with other diverse D.C.-based, women-serving organizations to expand the impact and reach of pitch competitions.

Tech Lady Hackathon 2017 - To support a one-day event providing training, workshops and civic-hacking opportunities specific to women in tech.

TechMoxie - To support low-income women in geographic areas underrepresented by women-owned business for a six-class course in digital and social media literacy.

The Black upStart - To support women of color entrepreneurs from Ward 8 in a three-week business development program that fuses culturally-relevant curriculum with go-to-market opportunities.

The Mentor Method - To create an online video and curriculum-based resource featuring local experts that will empower non-technical women founders to create products and navigate the entrepreneurial landscape.

Walker's Legacy Foundation - To ensure women entrepreneurs have childcare while attending a mom-focused entrepreneurship training program.

Zora & Amelia - To support pop-up retail opportunities for women-owned business in D.C.

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