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 Government of the District of Columbia 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 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 services support the entire food value chain and are available to a wide range of food businesses, including grocery stores, food incubators, corner stores, cooperative businesses, farmers markets, food delivery businesses, urban farms, food processors, food hubs, restaurants, and caterers.
The Keeping It Cool Grant application is open through March 31.
The Keeping It Cool Grant Program will provide $400,000 in grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 to support cold storage infrastructure and equipment needs of food businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations providing food-related goods and services in the Washington, DC region.
Eligible locations include Arlington, VA; Alexandria, VA; Fairfax County, VA; Montgomery County, MD; Prince George’s County, MD; and Washington, D.C.
Have questions about Keeping It Cool? Join one of our upcoming learning sessions.
Nourish DC Office Hours
In-person: March 22 @ 2-4 p.m. ET
Hosted by the DC Dept. of Small & Local Business Development at the MLK Memorial Library, Washington, D.C.
Virtual: March 27 @ 4-7 p.m. ET
Key features of Nourish DC
Jump to features
The Nourish DC lending partners – Capital Impact Partners, CDC Small Business Finance (CDC), City First Enterprises (CFE), EatsPlace, the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), and Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif) – 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. 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.
Specific loan terms vary by loan size and purpose, but features include the following:
- Uses: Working capital, lines of credit, equipment, vehicle acquisition, predevelopment, real estate acquisition, renovation, new construction, leasehold or tenant improvements, refinancing
- Amount: Microloans as small as $500 to real estate secured loans as large as $10,000,000
- Term: As short as 90 days for smaller loans and up to 10 years for larger loans
- Interest Rate: Varies by lender and type of loan
- Fees: 1.25% to 3% of loan size
- Payments: May include interest-only and/or principal and interest payments on varying amortization schedules
- 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 Loan Inquiry Form to determine which loan product is right for your business.
Nourish DC provides a range of technical assistance services to help entrepreneurs take their new and existing businesses to the next level including: one-on-one consulting, short-format seminars/ webinars/ trainings, access to a kitchen incubator, mentoring, and cohort-based intensive training.
Through Nourish DC, food business owners in the District can access technical assistance through these partner programs:
- The Dreaming Out Loud (DOL) 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 that offers training and useful connections to develop, test, and formalize a business idea in the food industry.
- Washington Area Community Investment Fund’s (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.
- CDC Small Business Finance: Small Business Advisory Services
*Complete the Inquiry Form to determine which technical assistance service is right for your business.
The Keeping It Cool Grant Program will provide $400,000 in grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 to support cold storage infrastructure and equipment needs of food businesses and 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations providing food-related goods and services in the Washington, DC region. Eligible locations include Arlington, VA; Alexandria, VA; Fairfax County, VA; Montgomery County, MD; Prince George’s County, MD; and Washington, DC. Apply through March 31, 2023.
Funding for this grant has been generously provided by The Morningstar Foundation.
Nourish DC Grants
In 2022, Nourish DC disbursed $400,000 in grants to nine food businesses owned by people of color in Wards 5, 7, and 8. In 2023, Nourish DC disbursed an additional $500,000 in grants to food businesses that are increasing access to healthy food and creating good quality jobs, which brings the total of Nourish DC grant funds disbursed to $900,000 in just two years.
ABOUT NOURISH DC
The Nourish DC Collaborative is funded through grants from Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), and grants from the Bainum Foundation, The Morningstar Foundation, and Prince Charitable Trusts. Capital Impact Partners acts as fund manager, and Nourish DC Collaborative partners are Capital Impact Partners, Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif), the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), City First Enterprises (CFE), CDC Small Business Finance (CDC), EatsPlace, and Dreaming Out Loud (DOL). Ongoing guidance is provided by an advisory board of District agencies.
$15+ million deployed
200+ food businesses received 1:1 or group TA
$900K+ to more than 20 food businesses
The Nourish DC Catalytic Grant is important for our business because it will allow us to scale at a faster pace, provide efficiency in daily operations, and make funds available to us to purchase uniform packaging.
Flavorture (formerly Pinke’s Eats)