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Mayor Bowser Kicks Off Small Business Week with Small Business Showcase on Rhode Island Avenue Main Street

Monday, April 29, 2024

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) kicked off Small Business Week by showcasing small and local businesses along the Rhode Island Avenue Main Street. While touring local businesses, Mayor Bowser joined the ribbon cutting of Bandura Designs, a woman-owned interior design firm and Certified Business Enterprise (CBE), and announced the recipients of the latest round of Robust Retail grants. Since the launch of the Robust Retail Grant Program in 2019, DSLBD has awarded $4 million to support nearly 500 retail establishments across all eight wards.

“We know what it means when people invest in our neighborhoods – when they take a chance on our city, when they train and hire DC residents – and we want to do everything we can to make sure they succeed,” said Mayor Bowser. “Local businesses create jobs, they provide essential goods and services, and they help build vibrant neighborhoods across all eight wards.”

The Mayor toured four local businesses and nonprofit organizations that have received District funding: Studio Chique Salon, Zeke's Coffee, and Emma’s Torch, and Bandura Design. Through the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget, the Rhode Island Avenue Main Street will receive $150,080, including $40,000 that will go to small business support through direct grants or technical assistance and $20,000 is allowed to go towards community events. 

Mayor Bowser is committed to continued support of small and local business enterprises in her Fiscal Year 2025 budget, including:

  • $4.9 million to support the Main Streets Program to promote the revitalization of business corridors.
  • $26 million to implement the BEST Act, which will simplify the business licensing process.
  • $1.5 million for the DC Business Portal, which also streamlines the licensing process.
  • $6.7 million for Clean Teams, which ensure our commercial corridors remain beautiful and inviting.
  • $7 million for retail grants through programs like the Great Streets initiative, the Locally Made Manufacturing program, and the Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, which help transform emerging corridors into bustling neighborhood hubs. 

“We at DSLBD understand the crucial role small businesses play in our city’s success,” says DSLBD Acting Director Rosemary Suggs-Evans. “By providing them with the necessary resources and support, we are not only promoting economic development but also securing a brighter future for our communities.”
Throughout Small Business Week, DSLBD and other partnering agencies will host and support events, workshops, and seminars in collaboration with partner organizations. These offerings aim to provide small business owners with valuable tools and insights to thrive in today’s competitive landscape. 

Upcoming events include:

Power Up For Success: 2024 DC Small Business Summit and Expo

  • When: April 30, 8 am - 3 pm
  • Where: Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Allen Y. Lew Place NW
  • Registration link here

Navigating the Landscape of Access to Capital for DC Small & Local Businesses

  • When: May 1, 2 pm - 5 pm
  • Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G Street NW
  • Registration link here

DC Small Business Week Pitch & Resource Exhibition

  • When: May 1, 9:30 am - 2 pm
  • Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G Street NW
  • Registration link here

#BeDowntown: CBE Celebration & Networking Reception
Businesses must be registered CBE. Space is limited.

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