In late January 2016, local entrepreneurs testified before DC city government in support of the Made in DC Program Establishment Act, an initiative aimed at helping DC-based innovators.The program highlights products made in Washington, DC and would allow the Department of Small and Local Business Development to create a “Made in DC” brand and marketing campaign. These same local products could become certified—free of charge—to display this logo.
DC Councilmember Charles Allen, who introduced the bill in December 2015 acknowledged the efforts of these entrepreneurs and “makers” and says it makes business sense to expand city support. “I believe the District government should work with our local maker community to promote what is specific and unique to the District of Columbia,” he said in a statement. “Supporting locally-made products keeps more of our dollars here at home. Buying from a local maker means a significant portion of that purchase supports other local businesses and creates local jobs.”
The bill goes beyond branding and marketing and also creates a “Made in DC” fund to help new businesses access critical capital. Start DC has heard directly from local entrepreneurs that access to capital can be a challenge to starting and growing a business. The proposed fund could be a crucial supplement to self-funding and catalyze the growth of local ventures.