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Aspire is a comprehensive perks management platform that helps organizations optimize their perks budget, centralize billing, stay compliant, and build a better workplace.
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  • DSLBD's Aspire program is excited to partner with the DC Small Business Development Center at Howard University to offer this six week, introductory business course for DC returning citizens and justice involved residents. 

    To register for the course, sign up via this eventbrite or reach out directly to the DCSBDC. Course registration and onboarding for the SBDC's free small business client counseling are required to participate.

    Course Overview:

    *Pre-reading: "Being a Successful Entrepreneur Isn't Only About Having the Best Ideas"
    *Pre-course assessment, Values in Action (VIA) Survey

    Week One: Intro to EDGE & Course Overview
    Week Two: Taking Care of YOU?
    Week Three: Leveraging Strengths & Making Connections
    Week Four: Communicating with Impact
    Week Five: Acting Like A Boss
    Week Six: Closing & Graduation

    All participants who complete the course will receive a certificate of completion. All participants will also be introduced to additional business development supports, including one-on-one confidential business plan counseling through the SBDC and programming from DSLBD's Inno.ED office around Aspire, Dream Grants for DC Wards 7 & 8, and other resources to help prepare to develop your business.

    Questions? You can reach out to the Inno.ED team at and the DC SBDC by contacting Carl Brown at You can also catch the Inno.ED team at 202Creates on Tuesdays from 10-2, and sign up for one-on-one SBDC counseling at DSLBD's Office's on Wednesdays.

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  • Are you interested in starting or growing your own business? Are you a DC returning citizen? You might be interested in 1-on-1 resource navigation support.

    The What: The Department of Small & Local Business Development's Innovation & Equitable Development team is supporting resource navigation for DC returning citizens, those who are justice-impacted or have been justice-involved, who have participated in or are interested in joining the Aspire to Entrepreneurship ecosystem. 

    The Who: Navigation support will include meeting with Tracy Raines, Virginia-Marie Roure, or Kate Mereand.

    The How: We'll work with you to identify your business development needs and interests, and to create a resource map of where you can begin to collect the resources and connections to support you on your entrepreneurial journey. Based on your interests, we can continue to meet and check in as you work through and want to update your resource map.

    Sign Up: Sign up here for a first introductory session, during which we'll get a sense of your business interests and needs, walk through some of the standard resources, and schedule your next meeting to go deeper on topics and issues you have identified as the areas of focus and interest.

    Questions? Please feel free to reach out to, or schedule to come to an introductory session and we can walk through your questions at that time.

    You can also usually catch our team on Tuesday for open office hours (drop ins are welcome), at 202Creates from 10-2.

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  • On Tuesdays through September 2019 staff from the Inno.ED office at the Department of Small & Local Business Development will hold open office hours at 202Creates. Drop in from 10-2 to see Virginia-Marie Roure, Tracy, Raines, or Kate Mereand to discuss your business development needs and referral resources available to support your DC business.

    • Inno.ED operates programs out of DSLBD such as Aspire, Made in DC, Grown in DC, Living Wage, Northeasterly, DC Youth Corps, Build a Dream, Dream Grants, and more.
    • Our fantastic partner, 202Creates, is a program from supporting and connecting DC's creative economy. On Tuesdays in 2019 they will hold open coworking days to support all DC creatives. Check out their upcoming agenda, here 

    Questions? Feel free to reach out to You can also find us on Instagram at @thisismadeindc!

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