DCSmallBizHelp is a network of 18 organizations that offer coaching and guidance to entrepreneurs in the District of Columbia. This tool serves to provide small business owners with access to information about the myriad of resources available as you PLAN, START, and GROW your business in our wonderful city.

Our goal is to connect you to organizations providing support to small business owners at every stage of their business life cycle. Each organization providing small business assistance is profiled so that you can learn more about what is being offered in your backyard.

If you think you have a great business idea, it’s time to take the first crucial step toward starting your business. Before you hang out your shingle or print your business cards, we suggest you take some time to plan how you are going to execute that great idea.

The best way to ensure your business’ success is to develop a detailed plan to take your product or service to market. This task may sound like daunting, but there are local DCSmallBizHelp providers available to support you.

Your business plan will map out the next steps you need to start and grow your business, including the key areas below:


(licensing, permits, etc.)


Financial projections

Financial planning

(including identifying resources for start-up capital)

Product or service pricing

Business operations, staffing and management

You are ready to make your first sale. We can help you register your business, navigate local regulations and laws, hire the right employees, secure the right location, and find professional service providers.

You will need to register your business. DCSmallBizHelp can provide you with information on all the legal structures (i.e., sole proprietorship, corporation, limited liability corporation-LLC, etc.), so that you can choose the one best suited for you.

DCSmallBizHelp providers will guide you through local regulations to ensure you obtain all the licenses and permits required by your business type. We will also help you understand all the local and federal tax and employment regulations and laws with which you will need to comply.

We can help you think through your staffing plan and connect you with resources that can help you find the right employees to support the launch of your business.

DCSmallBizHelp providers can refer you to resources that will help you select your business location in District. We have partnerships with commercial real estate and other professional service providers in fields including legal, accounting, and insurance who can advise you in this critical start-up phase.

In the start-up phase, DCSmallBizHelp providers can support you in:

Registering your business

Obtaining licenses, permits

(and any other legal credentials necessary to start your business)


(including website development)

Business site selection

Connection to professional service providers

Hiring assistance

You have an established business and are ready to take it to the next level. You may be thinking about adding a new location, offering a new product or service, expanding your market, diversifying your sources of revenue, adding new staff members to meet production demands, or becoming a government contractor.

There are lots of factors to consider when growing your businessesDCSmallBizHelp can support you as you map out and deliver on this next phase of your business’ life.

Some specific areas of support from DCSmallBizHelp providers include:

Access to financing

from traditional banks, area Community Development Financial Institutions and DCSmallBizLoans.com

Access to government grant opportunities


(traditional, social media, and other promotional approaches)

Government contract certifications

Assistance in accessing government contracts

(local, federal)

Hiring assistance

How it Works

Search by Type of Assistance

Search by Geographic Location

Browse Provider Profiles

The concept for DCSmallBizHelp grew out of the Small Business Policy Project (SBPP), a comprehensive initiative to improve the environment for small business success in the District, with funding provided by Citi Community Development. The SBPP is now working to implement the more than 60+ recommendations they devised to make it easier for small businesses to flourish in the District.

Provider Directory


The Washington, DC Chapter of SCORE, with over sixty members, both retired and working, has significant experience in the ownership, operation and/or management of both small and large businesses in many fields.

Development Corporation of Columbia Heights

DCCH's Business Development Division offers support services and technical assistance designed to expand the capacities of small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Old Takoma Business Association

OTBA bring together businesses, residents and community organizations to build and sustain a vibrant commercial district and preserve the neighborhood’s rich history.

SB Works

SB Works is a small business resource center for the District focused on supporting the goals and success of small business owners.

Anacostia Economic Development Corporation Business Development Center

The AEDC Business Development Center through its affiliation with the DC-Small Business Development Center Network (DC-SBDC) provides free management; technical assistance and affordable training in all phases of business development to District of Columbia based small businesses.

Business Case Studies

November 14, 2015

District Dance Arts

As a first-time entrepreneur in the District, Cristine Davis had hundreds of questions and even more ideas. She needed guidance to turn those ideas into a business.

DCSmallBizHelp Case Studies
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November 10, 2015

Mani’s Café

When Mani Tesema started her own business, she wanted to create a a place for people to gather and feel more connected to their community. The freedom of being her own boss was a great perk too.

DCSmallBizHelp Case Studies
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November 7, 2015


WAPA Café is a family affair. It’s a place for families to meet, laughter to echo, and regulars to convene. But, even with the help of a supportive family, a growing business sometimes needs assistance.

DCSmallBizHelp Case Studies
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