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Newsletter: February 2018

BEACON Newsletter
BEACON's Female Founder Focus Group at WeWork K St. 
Dawn Fong, Managing Director - Giants of Africa/The Ujiri Foundation; Rebecca Barson, Founder - RDB Strategies; Francie Wasser, Founder - FranciePants; Yolandra Hancock, MD, MPH, Founder - Delta Health and Wellness Consulting; Sami Ki, Social Entrepreneur; Pooja Mehta, Co-Owner - Mellow Mushroom; Ashlee Lawson, Events and Digital Communications Consultant


Many thanks to the phenomenal and inspiring women that participated in BEACON's Female Founders Focus Groups! Your insights will help shape and inform strategies for making D.C. the most supportive city for women founders. 

The polls are open! City Paper's "Best of DC" is open for votes! Make your voice heard and be sure to amplify DC's women + women-owned businesses throughout all categories! 

Interested in partnering with us? Submit a Partnership Request Form and we'll be in touch! 
Upcoming Opportunities
Accelerators, Incubators, and Competitions

The EnrichHER Spark Conference is designed to help entrepreneurs with coaching, capital and connections. The May conference will feature an Entrepreneurship Showcase open to any women-led business owner who applies + purchases a ticket to any EnrichHER conference or summit on or by 2/14. Organizers are also looking to feature multicultural speakers - click here to learn more and submit a nomination.

Backstage Capital has invested more than $2M in 50+ companies led by underrepresented founders. Their review period for new founders will open on 2/15. Applications are accepted year-round. 

Accelerate Baltimore is a 13-week accelerator program for for-profit companies. Six companies will be selected to receive $25K in seed funding (convertible note) with an additional award of $100K at the end of the program. Apply by 2/18.

Pipeline Angels will select 8-10 for-profit social enterprises to present at each Spring Pipeline Angels Pitch Summit. Women and non-binary femme social entrepreneurs are invited to apply by 2/19.

The Vinetta Project's Venture Challenge Showcase is now accepting applications! Founders who advance to the final showcase compete for a game-changing prize package, including $20,000 cash. Make sure you meet pitch guidelines and apply by 2/21.

The Boss Up! Pitch Competition, presented by Black Girl Ventures, is open to Black and Brown female (identifying) founders with revenue generating startups in operation for 1-3 years. The crowdfunded pitch competition will award funds raised by ticket sales and matched up to $1,000 with support of the BEACON Grant Award, in addition to a meeting with an investor, a consultant, and a lawyer, marketing swag and more! All eight contestants will have access to Black Girl Ventures' wrap-around services for three months following the competition. Apply by 2/23.

Fannie Mae's Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge ("The Challenge") seeks ideas to help address the affordable housing crisis in America. The Challenge will accept proposals that focus on the intersection of affordable housing and economic opportunity through 2/23. 

The American Dream Business Competition seeks entrepreneurs to compete for a $1,000 prize at the 2018 Black Expo America event in Washington, DC. The competition will be held on 3/10 and registration is open now. Click here to learn more.

Are you interested in building a tech venture without providing the technology? The
FedTech program is a novel startup studio that identifies technologies from over 25 federal laboratories and universities, then builds teams and helps these teams find their market. There's no equity stake and no need to leave your day job initial. Click here to learn more and to view the 2017 highlight video. Applications for the Spring '18 cohort are now open.

The JumpFund invests in early-stage, women-led, high-growth ventures. Ongoing due date.

Are you a non-university researcher or company? If you are an entrepreneur doing significant research and development, you may be a great fit for I-Corps: a seven-week accelerator to prepare teams to bid on Federal SBIR grants. If interested, email for more information.

Speaking/Exhibition Opportunities

Oprah (yes, Oprah) is casting female business owners who are ready for the next level. Share your story to be considered for an upcoming series!

Tech Inclusion is looking for speakers. 
Submit your info for consideration.

The Food Tank Summit is looking for food system experts, innovators and leaders to speak in 2018. Suggest a speaker here

Tech Startup Spotlights are casual exhibitions that bring 20 of the most promising startups together in a reception setting during the SXSW Conference. Ongoing due date.

In the food business or know a restaurateur? Encourage them to submit to the 2018 Good Food 100 Restaurants Survey by 5/2.


The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) is requesting input on the design of and approach to a new program anticipated for implementation within the next year. The project seeks to increase access to capital for DC entrepreneurs, and particularly for underrepresented entrepreneurs, such as people of color and women by creating an investment fund for early stage ventures. Comments on the technical aspects of the program design, work plan,and approach to implementation are welcome through 3/6. Submit comments and learn more here, or share your thoughts with BEACON at 

The DC Stem Fair is seeking STEM professionals to judge middle and high school projects. Spend 2-3 hours reviewing and judging projects on March 17th. Click here to learn more.

The DC Cultural Plan has been released for public review. The Plan's recommendations strengthen arts, humanities, culture and heritage across the city. Share your insights and comments via email to dcculturalplan@dc.ogv through 2/28.

Think Local First DC is looking for interns! Are you or someone you know interested in working on projects critical to building a strong local economy in our nation's capital? Send your resume + why local matters to you to

Were you affected by Impact Hub's closing? The
Inclusive Innovation Incubator will honor your membership for a specified period of time. Contact for more info. 

For those under 25, the Powerful Beyond Measure grant provides small, monetary gifts in support of the goals and greatness of youth. Learn more and apply by 2/6.

The Women's Business Enterprise National Council's Student Entrepreneur Program fosters growth for the next generation of women-owned businesses. Aspiring female entrepreneurs studying STEAM or business subjects receive mentoring, participate in a $20,000 pitch competition, and participate in experiential learning through off-site visits to Women's Business Enterprises, corporate campuses, and accelerators. Apply by 2/23.

Harlem Capital Partners, an NY-based minority-owned early-stage venture firm is looking for part-time interns for a 12-week period. Apply by 1/30.

Do you know of opportunities that could benefit the BEACON community? Share them with us via
Resource Spotlight
Her Corner is a digital and in-person global community of women business owners committed to helping women grow their businesses. It is the only online business resource that offers collaboration with fellow business owners, online educational programs, in-person peer groups, business accelerators, original business advice from prominent experts, and resources to help fund women’s businesses.

Click here to learn more.
Community News
Upcoming Events

2.14: Build a Dream Workshop - Train the Trainers presented by DSLBD

2.15: Halcyon Incubator Cohort 8 Kickoff

2.15: FedTech Networking Mixer

2.15: Build Metro DC Sales Bazaar

2.15: Free Capital Raising Workshop at Startupalooza

2.15: Make Money Moves: Get Your Finances in Check for 2018 

2.15: Disability Startup Network Stakeholders Meeting

2.16: Live Chat with Grant Specialist - DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

2.17: Wards 7 & 8 Creative Economy Entrepreneur's Bootcamp

2.19: Ward 7 Creative Economy Entrepreneur's Bootcamp

2.20: How She Got There: An Evening with DC Entrepreneurs, featuring Ariel Pasternak of Pineapple Collaborative

 Unleaded Design Sprint | Own Your History 

2.20: 10 Tax Tips for Side Hustlers and Small Businesses

2.21: Fosterly Startup Census Report Release Event

2.21-2.22: Future of Technology Summit 

2.22: Getting Your Legal House in Order

2.22: The District Startup Tech Networking Mixer

2.22: What She Said: Women Talk the Business of Art

2.22: 10 Tax Tips for Side Hustlers and Small Businesses

2.23: Live Chat with Grant Specialist - DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

2.24-2.25: Artist as Entrepreneur Bootcamp presented by New York Foundation for the Arts and American University Museum

2.25: Latina Meetup for Creators and Entrepreneurs

2.26: Leveraging LinkedIn to Grow Your Visibility and Impact presented by 40Plus of Greater Washington 

2.27: Impact Investing Spectrum presented by the Women Impact Investing Network

2.28: Sales Strategies for Startups at In3

2.28: Food Tank Summit 2018

2.28: Small Business Brief Advice Legal Clinic presented by the DC Bar Pro Bono Center

2.28: Entrepreneur's Corner: How We Got There presented by Project 500 and In3

2.28: Fireside Chat with Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital

3.1-3.2: Circular Summit powered by Alice (promo code: SUMMIT50)

3.1: Thrive Workshop: Legal Resources for Nonprofit Social Enterprises

3.1: HER Corner Accelerator Info Session (Virtual)

3.2: Free Coffee and Networking for Women Business Owners presented by Her Corner

3.4: Entrepreneurial Women in DC: A Morning of Best Practices

3.6: 10 Tax Tips for Side Hustlers and Small Businesses

3.7: How to Pitch Your Startup to an Investor

3.7: Women Under 40 PAC Presents: Women in Action 2018

3.7: Pathways to #HerBusiness: Lessons and Inspirations from Female Entrepreneurs presented by Empowered Women International 

3.7: Thrive Workshops: Your Board and Fundraising

3.8: HER Corner Accelerator Info Session (Virtual)

3.8: The Muster DC presented by Bunker Labs and Capitol Post

3.8: Define Your Business Essence presented by Street Entrepreneurs

3.8: Women Leaders Around the World: Entrepreneurs, Educators, and...

3.8: Women in the Arts Pop-Up: Celebrating International Women's Day

3.10: Encore Entrepreneurship: Working for Yourself After 50 presented by WACIF

3.10: Diaspora Women Leaning In: A Business & Development Brunch

3.13: Credit, Savings and Small Business Development presented by the Latino Economic Development Center
3.16: The Spectrum Circle Awards Luncheon

3.19: The Business of Arts: Cultivating Your Community

3.21: Vinetta Project - March Female Founder Showcase

3.24: Google Digital Marketing Workshop presented by Black Girl Ventures

3.29: Boss Up! The Black Girl Ventures Pitch Competition

Ongoing: Women's Voices Theater Festival

Ongoing: "Guru" Sessions hosted by women founders at Hera Hub DC 

Ongoing: Register for the Made East River Directory for creative products/services based in Ward 7/8 neighborhoods 
Do you have a women-focused event to share? Upload it to the BEACON website to reach hundreds of women entrepreneurs in the DC-area!
Entrepreneur Spotlight
SASS Defense is a self defense program for women and girls that is committed to ending violence against women. 1 in 6 women in the United States will be sexually assaulted and around the world that number jumps to 1 in 3. SASS Defense teaches women and girls how to utilize their hands, feet, and voice to defend themselves against an attacker.

SASS Defense founder, Rachel Westfall, is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina and has moved to Washington DC where she is quickly building a strong and supportive community of females whose lives have been positively influenced and empowered by SASS Defense.
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