Nourish DC Collaborative


Financing, Technical Assistance, and Grants to Help DC Food Businesses Expand Economic Prosperity

Building a strong local food ecosystem supports healthier neighborhoods, economic prosperity, and high-quality jobs in the District of Columbia, especially in communities that have experienced systematic underinvestment, poor health outcomes, and limited economic opportunities.

Launched in 2021, the Nourish DC Collaborative was created in partnership with the District government to support the development of a robust ecosystem of locally owned food businesses, neighborhood vibrancy, and health equity in DC communities, especially in neighborhoods underserved by grocery stores and other food businesses. Nourish DC provides flexible loans, technical assistance, and catalytic grants to emerging and existing food businesses in the District of Columbia, with a preference for businesses located in or owned by residents of underserved neighborhoods.

Nourish DC supports the entire food value chain and will be available to a wide range of food businesses, including grocery stores, food incubators, corner stores, cooperative businesses, farmers markets, food delivery, urban farms, food processors, food hubs, restaurants, and caterers.

Key features of Nourish DC

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Flexible Loans

Nourish DC lending partners Capital Impact Partners, Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif), the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), EatsPlace, and CDC Small Business Finance (CDC), are all local Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that collectively offer multiple loan products to meet the varied financing needs of food entrepreneurs of all different sizes and types. We know every project is different, and work with borrowers to match their unique needs with the right loan offering. Start-up and existing food businesses are eligible to apply.

Loans may be used for the following purposes:

  • Working capital
  • Lines of credit
  • Equipment/ vehicle acquisition
  • Predevelopment
  • Acquisition
  • Renovation
  • New construction
  • Leasehold/tenant Improvements
  • Refinancing

Specific loan terms vary by loan size and purpose, but features include the following*:

  • Amount: Microloans as small as $1,000 to real estate secured loans as large as $6,000,000
  • Term: As short as 90 days for smaller loans and up to 10 years for larger loans
  • Interest Rate: 5% to 12.5%
  • Fees: 1.25% to 3% of loan size
  • Payments: May include interest-only and/or principal & interest payments on varying amortization schedules (see below)
  • Amortization: Interest only, partial, and fully amortizing loans on amortization schedules up to 25 years
  • Guarantees: Varies, personal guarantees required for most loans

*Complete the Inquiry Form to determine which loan product is right for your business.

Technical Assistance

We provide a range of technical assistance services to help entrepreneurs take their new and existing businesses to the next level:

  • One-on-one consulting
  • Short-format seminars/ webinars/ trainings
  • Access to a kitchen incubator
  • Mentoring
  • Cohort-based intensive training

Nourish DC partners are offering their technical assistance expertise to District food businesses. After filling out our inquiry form, we will discuss the best option for your small food business.

  • The Dreaming Out Loud Ready for Entrepreneurship Accelerator Modules Program (DREAM Program) is a 16-week incubator program for low-resourced food entrepreneurs residing in Washington, DC.
  • The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) Food Ventures Initiative is a bilingual program for entrepreneurs in the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area that offers training and useful connections to develop, test, and formalize a business idea in the food industry.
  • Wacif’s Ascend Capital Accelerator provides underrepresented entrepreneurs the ability to accelerate business growth, access and obtain capital, and pursue government contracting opportunities.
  • EatsPlace offers technical services such as business consulting, access to a commercial kitchen incubator, and pop-up lab space for farm and food businesses.

*Complete the Inquiry Form to determine which technical assistance service is right for your business.

Catalytic Grants

Catalytic grants will support businesses increasing access to healthy food and creating quality jobs.

  • Total Grant Funding: $250,000 made available in 2021
  • Grant Range: $10,000-$50,000
  • Grant Uses Include: New product development, marketing, technology, equipment, real estate acquisition, construction, tenant improvements
  • Eligible Business Location: Food business must be physically located in DC, preference for Wards 5, 7, or 8
  • Eligible Business Revenue: Food businesses generating revenue equal to two times the amount of grant funding requested

The Nourish DC Collaborative is funded through a $1 million grant from Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), and the funds are part of the $5.2 million DC Local Equity, Access, and Preservation Funds (DC LEAF). Nourish DC will be managed collaboratively by Capital Impact Partners, Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif), the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), CDC Small Business Finance (CDC), EatsPlace, and Dreaming Out Loud (DOL), with ongoing guidance from an advisory board of District agencies. Nourish DC will leverage this $1 million award to attract an additional $2 million to the initiative, expanding its ability to support DC food businesses.

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