DC Mayor Bowser Hosts DC Small Business Expo

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As part of Small Business Week, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser hosted the second annual D.C. Small Business Expo, and pledged her continued support to local business owners who are looking to start or grow their businesses in 2023.

“We know there are people in the District who ask themselves, ‘Should I or shouldn’t I finally take this leap, follow this dream, start this business…?’ The answer is ‘Yes! You should,’ ” Bowser said at the event. “And we want you to do it right here in D.C. Starting and growing more businesses, especially businesses owned by D.C. residents, is critical to our comeback.” 

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At the Expo, entitled “Resources for Financial Success,” small business owners were able to consult with more than two dozen industry experts and leaders, as well as attend panel discussions, demonstrations, get computer training, and take part in rooftop networking.

During the event, the mayor highlighted some of her proposals in the upcoming budget aimed at assisting small businesses, including $6 million for the Commercial Property Acquisition Fund to help business owners buy their properties and turn rent payments into mortgage payments; an additional $3 million for the Great Streets and Small Business Fund; and an additional $3 million for the Food Access Fund, a tool for expanding restaurants and other food access points in Wards 7 and 8, for a total of $24 million for small food businesses.

Bowser also shared that 100 recipients received the Fiscal Year 2023 Robust Retail grants. Administered by the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB), the $5,000 grants support current retail business owners in the District with enhancing their marketing, inventory and technology capabilities. 

“The D.C. Small Business Expo is the perfect spotlight for the work we are doing at DISB,” Karima Woods, DISB’s commissioner, said at the expo. “Residents are encouraged to come to our panel providing insights to small business owners on programs available to help with financial literacy, navigating student debt, insurance options, and other resources.” 

The expo was supported by DISB, the Department of Small and Local Business Development and the D.C. Public Library.

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.