Best DC Small Business Grants[yoast-breadcrumb]
Starting or growing a small business in Washington DC can be challenging, but there are many great grant opportunities available to help entrepreneurs succeed. As a financial services company dedicated to helping small businesses thrive, we wanted to provide an overview of some of the top DC small business grants and funding programs.
DC Small Business Recovery Microgrants
One of the best known DC small business grant programs is the DC Small Business Recovery Microgrants initiative. This program provides grants to small, local businesses, independent contractors, self-employed individuals, and nonprofits in DC to help meet short-term financial needs.The microgrants can cover things like:
- Employee wages and benefits
- Accounts payable
- Fixed costs
To be eligible, you must:
- Have been operating prior to March 17, 2020
- Have no more than $10 million in gross annual revenue
- Have no more than 250 full-time equivalent employees
- Have a physical location in DC
The maximum grant amount is $25,000. The application period for this grant is currently closed, but it’s worth keeping an eye out in case the program reopens.
Great Streets Retail Small Business Grants
The Great Streets Retail Small Business Grant program provides grants to small retail businesses located in designated Great Streets corridors in DC. For 2022, $6.8 million in grants were awarded to over 100 businesses.To qualify, businesses must:
- Have a storefront with a Certificate of Occupancy on a designated DC Great Street
- Have been in business for at least one year
- Have annual gross revenues under $750,000
Grant amounts range from $10,000 to $50,000. Funds can be used for things like rent, payroll, inventory, marketing, and more.
Locally Made Manufacturing Grants
The Locally Made grant program provides grants to DC-based small manufacturing businesses. For 2022, $500,000 in grants were awarded.Eligible businesses must:
- Produce and/or manufacture products in DC
- Have annual gross revenues under $2.5 million
- Have under 50 full-time equivalent employees
Grants range from $10,000 to $50,000. Funds can be used for operating expenses like rent, payroll, inventory, and equipment.
Skip Small Business Grant
The Skip Small Business Grant provides a $10,000 grant to a DC-based small business each quarter.To be eligible, businesses must:
- Be located in DC
- Have annual gross revenues under $5 million
- Have under 50 full-time equivalent employees
The application involves submitting a short video that tells the story of your business. Grant funds can be used in any way that supports your business.
DC Main Streets Grants
The DC Main Streets program provides grants up to $85,000 to small businesses located in designated DC Main Streets districts. Funds can be used for things like façade improvements, interior renovations, and permanent working capital.Eligible businesses must be located in one of the designated Main Streets districts like Anacostia, Congress Heights, Deanwood, Dupont Circle, H Street NE, Shaw, etc.
Additional DC Small Business Grants
Here are some other great DC small business grants to consider:
- DC Small Business Technical Assistance Grant – Up to $15,000 for working with a consultant on strategy, marketing, tech, etc.
- DC Small Retailer Property Rehabilitation Tax Abatement – Tax credit equal to 50% of rehab expenses up to $50,000.
- DC Small Business Innovation Research/Technology Transfer Grant – Matching grants up to $100,000 for tech/R&D.
- DC Main Street Design Assistance Grants – Up to $25,000 matching grant for storefront/interior design.
- DC Small Business Resource Center Grants – Grants and incentives for location-specific needs.
Tips for Applying for DC Small Business Grants
Applying for small business grants can take some time and effort, but it is well worth it! Here are some tips:
- Carefully review the eligibility requirements and make sure you qualify before applying.
- Gather all required documentation early – financial statements, tax returns, business registration, etc.
- Follow the application instructions closely and submit all required elements.
- Highlight how the grant will help your business grow and create local jobs.
- Be thorough but concise in writing any required essays or responses.
- Ask for help if needed! Consult a small business mentor or advisor to review your application.
- Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t selected the first time. Re-apply during future grant cycles.
Partnering with a Financial Services Firm
As you apply for grants, it can also be helpful to partner with a financial services firm like Delancey Street. We can provide guidance on the application process, help you gather required documents, and review your application before submission.In addition to grants, we can explore other funding options like small business loans and financing. Our goal is to help small businesses access the capital they need to start, grow, and thrive in DC!
Starting or expanding a small business in Washington DC can feel daunting, but taking advantage of grant programs and support makes success much more achievable. We hope this overview gave you a great starting point on some of the best DC small business grants. Reach out if you need any help with your applications or want to discuss other funding options!