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 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 is 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
Jump to features
The Nourish DC lending partners – Capital Impact Partners, Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif), the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), EatsPlace, City First Enterprises (CFE), 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.
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 $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: 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.
We provide 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 including:
- 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.
*Complete the Inquiry Form to determine which technical assistance service is right for your business.
The second round of Nourish DC Grants will be open from October 26, 2022 to November 20, 2022 and will provide grant funding to DC food businesses increasing access to healthy food and creating quality jobs. Criteria is as follows:
- Grant Funding: $500,000 will be disbursed
- Grant Range: $10,000-$50,000
- Grant Uses Include: New product development, technology, equipment, real estate acquisition, construction, tenant improvements, cold storage, marketing, and more
- Eligible Business Location: Food business must be physically located in DC with preference for Wards 5, 7, and 8
- Eligible Businesses:
- For-profit businesses that grow, process, distribute, or sell food products
- Increase access to healthy food
- Create good quality jobs
- Registered and operating in the District of Columbia for 6+ months
- Generate $10,000+ annual sales revenue
Register for an upcoming webinar or our office hours to learn more about the 2022 grant
In 2022, Nourish DC disbursed $400,000 in grants to nine BIPOC-owned food businesses in Wards 5, 7, and 8 that are increasing access to healthy food and creating quality jobs for city residents. Seven of the awardees are women-owned businesses.
Upcoming Grant Opportunity: Keeping It Cool Grant
There will be an additional grant opportunity in the first quarter of 2023. The Keeping It Cool grant, funded by the Morningstar Foundation, will launch in the first quarter of 2023 to support the cold storage needs of small food businesses and non-profit organizations in Washington, DC.
ABOUT NOURISH DC
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), City First Enterprises (CFE), 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.
$14.5+ million deployed
160+ food businesses received 1:1 or group TA
$533,000 to ten food businesses in Wards 5, 7, and 8
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)