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Newsletter I: April 2018

BEACON Newsletter
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Competitors and attendees at the BEACON Dolphin Tank
presented Springboard Enterprises on March 22, 2018. 
BEACON Board Member and Founder of Black Girl Ventures, Shelly Bell, joins local ecosystem leaders and Deputy Mayor Brian Kenner for a conversation on diversity and inclusion in D.C.'s tech scene at SXSW.


BEACON grantee, Springboard Enterprises, hosted the "BEACON Dolphin Tank" on March 22nd at the Alley. As a "helpful, feedback-driven" pitch session, the "Dolphin Tank" model allows for entrepreneurs to receive constructive insights from knowledgeable experts. Rather than compete for the best idea, hosts channel the expertise of the people in the room with a goal of providing connections and advice to enable entrepreneurs to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities. 

The following entrepreneurs presented their dynamic enterprises in the fashion-tech industry: 

Bonnti - Maude Okrah, Founder & CEO
Bonnti is a mobile platform that helps you navigate and simplify your hair experience. We understand your hair is unique and we want to empower women to have more choice when it comes to their hair.

Dressmate - Jennifer Simons, Founder
Dressmate is a platform that allows college women to rent-out clothing to one another. Founded in 2016, Dressmate was born out of the belief that women deserve affordable, high-quality clothing. 

Well-Kept Beauty - Sheena Franklin, Founder
Well-Kept Beauty is a mobile app that helps ingredient-conscious consumers manage their skin health by tracking and monitoring cosmetic ingredients and expiration for safe and suitable choices. 

Makeup America! - Randa Fahmy, Founder
Makeup America! is a new American-branded, patriotic-themed beauty company with a unique social purpose: to economically empower women to pay down the U.S. national debt. 


Black Girl Ventures, founded by BEACON Board Member Shelly Bell, also hosted a "Boss Up!" pitch competition in March. Boss Up! flips the traditional pitch competition by empowering the community (audience) to contribute to the "vision fund" and vote for their favorite pitch! Congratulations to Kristin Henderson of BLK + GRN for winning the spring competition.

Kudos to all competitors for participating and showcasing their innovative ventures! 

Jazmine Kionna - Jazmine Kionna, Founder
Jazmine Kionna, LLC is a brand of high-heeled shoes that feature built-in shock absorbent gel and memory foam insoles.

Freshspire - Mona Amin, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer
redirects fresh food from local landfills by partnering with local food distributors, restaurants, and businesses to create a network and community of zero food waste. 

NEXUS Education Consulting - Dawn Sherman, Founder
NEXUS is a full-service dissertation agency dedicated to helping you get #FromStartToPhinisheD in one year or less.

Test4Me - Shay Stanford, Founder
Test4Me empowers teachers to create adaptive tests for grades K-12.

Femly Box - Arion Long, Founder and Chief Estrogen Officer
Femly is a disruptive tech-based menstrual hygiene company that aims to provide alternatives to toxic menstrual care products through a monthly subscription service and all-natural products. 

EnrichHER - Roshawnna Novellus, Founder
EnrichHER unites founders and funders who share a vision for sustainable women-led ventures.


BEACON is thrilled to partner with coach and strategist Tiffany Houser for an exclusiveFREE group coaching experience designed for BEACON community members.  This 8-week complimentary experience begins Tuesday, April 24th and will dive deep into the confidence mindset, uncovering the two biggest beliefs that can shift everything in your life and your professional path. Click here to learn more and sign-up today! 

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

Are you or a team member a Georgetown student or recent alumni of any Georgetown degree program? Apply for the Startup Hoyas Summer Launch incubator program to receive dedicated support, workspace at WeWork White House, a $4,000 stipend per team, intros to local investors and invitations to exclusive events. Learn more and apply soon - admissions are rolling and the program begins 5/31.

Are you interested in participating in the D.C. Women's Business Center Pitch Competition on April 11th? Prizes range from $250 $1,000. Send an email request to or call Liz at 202-393-8307.

Halcyon Incubator is equipping early-stage social entrepreneurs with the support they need to transform audacious ideas into scalable and sustainable ventures. The application for the Fall 2018 Fellowship is now open. Learn more and apply before 5pm on 4/4.

Halcyon Arts Lab seeks to support emerging artists who are interested in further developing a socially-engaged practice and creating connections and partnerships in Washington, DC. The nine-month fellowship includes housing, studio space and more. Apply by 4/4.

The PROSPECTUS Online Business Accelerator Program uses original curriculum, a cohort model and a structured learning environment to aid multicultural women entrepreneurs and business owners in scaling and commercializing their entrepreneurial ventures. Enrollment closes 4/8.

The Ward 7 and 8 Microbusiness Dream Grant Program will support the growth of businesses with fewer than five (5) employees located in Ward 7 or 8, for which residents of those wards comprise 50% or more of the ownership of the businesses. Grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 each will be awarded in Spring 2018. Learn more and submit by 2pm on 4/27.

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

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.

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.

Exhibition/Award Opportunities

Are you an arts & crafts, food or dessert, direct sales or general vendor? Sign up with Chic Events/Empowered Women International for various opportunities around the District.

Are you or someone you know a filmmaker? Nominate a District of Columbia resident filmmaker to be considered for Filmmaker of the Month, an initiative of the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment. 

The EnrichHER Spark Conference is designed to help entrepreneurs with coaching, capital and connections. The May conference will feature an Entrepreneurship Showcase and is currently identifying multicultural speakers - click here to learn more and submit a nomination.

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

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

Community News
Upcoming Events
4.2: Small Business Group TA: Business Plans & Pitches

4.3: Promoting Your WHY: Using Social Media to Grow Your Brand and Business presented by Women in Technology (WIT)

4.4: How to Build It: Healthcare Startups and Innovation

4.4: DMV Salesforce Women in Tech Happy Hour

4.4-5.9 (Wednesdays): Fresh Start Wednesdays presented by the Mayor's Office on Women's Policy and Initiatives

Mobile Vending Regulations Workshop

4.5: Find Work That Matters - presented by General Assembly

4.6: Free Coffee & Networking for D.C.'s Women Business Owners

4.6: First Fridays at General Assembly with Cee Smith Media

4.6-4.8: Techstars Startup Weekend | Social Impact

4.7: Congress Heights' 2018 Business Plan Competition

4.7: Rest in Entrepreneurship @ The HIVE 2.0

4.9: Small Business Group TA: Landscape on Accessing Capital 

4.9: Choosing the Right CRM for Your Business

4.9: Vinetta Project - April Female Founder Showcase 

4.10: Networking for Inclusion - Disability Employment & Entrepreneurship

4.10: How to Break into Tech - Veteran Event presented by General Assembly 

4.11: Small Business Working Group Series, hosted by the D.C. Women's Business Center

4.11: Ladies Get Drinks DC: How to Manage Up and Get Paid What You Deserve

4.11: The What, Why and How of Startup Incubators & Accelerators

4.12: Let's Talk About Failure featuring Shabnam Aggarwal, Monica Kang, and Ben Powell

4.12: Third Annual Women GW Women in Business Gala

4.12: Building Brands People Love presented by General Assembly

4.12: Art and Social Impact with Halcyon

4.12: Celebrating Black Women Entrepreneurs: Making Dollars out of $cents

4.13: Ward 7 & 8 Microbusiness Dream Grant Info Session 

4.13: Mornings Are for Marketing

4.15: Style Your Life - Women's Empowerment and Networking Pop Up

4.16: Small Business Group TA: Social Media & Marketing

4.18: Minding Your Business - An Entrepreneurship Workshop on Grant Writing 

4.19: GW New Venture Competition

4.19: DC Buys: Reverse Vendor Trade Fair 2018

4.19: Simplified Workflows for Training Virtual Assistants

4.19: USAID Youth-led Innovations - The Journey to Self-Reliance

4.20: Aspire Half-Day Hackathon

4.23: Ownership, Governance, and Incorporation: Getting Your Innovation Legal 

4.24: Gallaudet Innovation & Entrepreneurship/Village Capital Pitch Competition

4.26: The Power of Women from Wall Street to Entrepreneurship: A Conversation with Sallie Krawcheck and Jenny Abramson

4.26 -4.27: BroccoliCon: An Incubator for All Those Who Strive to Create a Better World

4.26-4.27: Build Your Own Brand Retreat

4.29-5.4:  D.C. Small Business Week

5.3: EnrichHER Spark Washington, D.C. Summit

Ongoing: Every Monday is Maker Monday at SHOP MADE IN DC. Join us anytime between 7am and 7pm for 10% off all food, beverages and more. Independent coworking available from 7am-5pm. 

OngoingContributions of Muslim Women in History (through April 14th)

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 
Entrepreneur Spotlight
Dūcō is an on-demand platform where businesses connect with world-class experts to collect geopolitical and international business intelligence. Dūcō's experts are in 20 countries and are some of the most esteemed and trusted practitioners in their fields. They include former high-ranking government and military officials, entrepreneurs, C-suite executives, and other thought leaders. 

Sidney Olinyk and Alicia Sloan are co-founders of Dūcō. Sidney's career spans national security, foreign policy, and leadership development - from the Pentagon to civil society to Washington's startup community. Alicia commands nearly ten years of national security experience advising policymakers through her work with the Intelligence Community, the DoD, and Capitol Hill. Learn more about Dūcō and its founders here.
Resource Spotlight
Awesome Women Entrepreneurs hosts intimate social gatherings for women entrepreneurs to share laughs, network and support one another. Be a guest on AWE Radio or reach the next level of success in small, six-month accountability groups. Join their community to hire, refer, collaborate and encourage one another: connect, inspire, laugh and grow with AWE! 

Black Girl Ventures seeks a Community Manager (unpaid) focused on inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship. The position is open immediately for full-time (preferred) or part-time availability, and for a 3-6 month term. For more information including a full description and requirements, email  

Are you interested in volunteering during D.C. Startup Week (Sep 24-28, 2018)? Various opportunities include mentors, day of event logistics, marketing, speaker, and core team roles. Learn more and apply today!

Do you want to attend the Small Business Working Group Series during April's NCRC Conference? Scholarships are available to entrepreneurs who want to attend but cannot afford the cost. To apply contact Elizabeth at

Are you interested in serving as a mentor? Empowered Women International is recruiting for mentors for the Entrepreneur Training for Success program. If interested in learning more, contact Alexandra Boycheck at Mentors are needed in Rockville (English) and Herndon (Spanish).

Help us celebrate D.C. Small Business Week! Are you planning a grand opening or customer appreciation day? Hosting a special training or other event? Submit your event here so that it can receive extra promotion!

Angel Track is a masterclass and community for angel investors who are just getting started. They are specifically looking to support women and minorities interested in investing. Click here to apply for their Spring 2018 cohort.

The Inclusive Innovation Incubator seeks part-time STEM instructors to teach coding and entrepreneurship curriculum to elementary, middle and high school students during after school, weekend and summer programs. Click here to learn more.

Are you a digital artist interested in exhibiting your art in the "physical world," or throughout Washington, DC during a major international festival? In partnership with ARTECHOUSE, By the People invites you to submit your digital designs to take part in an augmented reality exhibition, 'art hunt.' Click here to learn more and submit your work. 

Do you know of opportunities that could benefit the BEACON community? Share them with us via
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