Small Business Ecosystem Building

CNHED distinguishes itself by identifying shared values and a common agenda across our diverse membership, allies, and partners to create a collaboration that results in innovative solutions for some of the District’s most challenging community economic development issues. We are committed to strengthening and connecting the small business ecosystem in the District, serving as a community quarterback that collaborates across small business support organizations and entities to enhance funding, support services, resources, and information for small businesses in DC.

As a part of this commitment, CNHED actively collaborates with community stakeholders and partners to identify areas for improvement within the small business ecosystem that would work to better support District small businesses, specifically those that are minority-owned or in under-resourced communities.

We organize our small business work in three specific focus areas: coordination, navigating resources, and convening.

Through this small business ecosystem building work, we are aiming to develop a local model and set of best practices that can be replicated in other jurisdictions nationwide.


As a community quarterback, CNHED aims to serve as a liaison between small businesses, support organizations, and other stakeholders in the ecosystem including government agencies and community lenders. Through working group meetings, surveys, and other convenings, CNHED works to break down barriers in access and communication throughout the entire ecosystem, working to improve the coordination between stakeholders and streamline access to services and support.

Navigating Resources

CNHED created and manages DCSmallBizHelp, a robust resource repository designed to assist DC business owners and entrepreneurs effortlessly navigate the wide array of programs, resources, and support organizations within the small business ecosystem.

The resource repository includes but isn’t limited to, support and advisory programs, financing products and grants, government services, technical assistance organizations, lenders, and commercial corridor revitalization organizations.

DCSmallBizHelp will launch in 2024.


During the research phase of this work, community stakeholders and partners expressed that there was greater opportunity for networking, training, and the cultivation of B2B relationships within the small business ecosystem. To meet this need, CNHED hosts numerous informational and educational convenings benefiting local small businesses and the organizations that serve them.

CNHED’s small business ecosystem building work is supported thanks to the generous contribution from the Truist Charitable Fund at the Winston-Salem Foundation.

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