**FILE** Courtesy of D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking
**FILE** Courtesy of D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking

I would like to address a few misperceptions about the DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking’s DC BizCAP Program that may have been created by an Oct. 13 Washington Informer article, “D.C.-Supported Capital Funding Program Mystifies Black Business Leaders.”

1.     DC BizCAP Program is in fact open to all small businesses.The DC BizCAP Program is funded through the U.S. Treasury and is fully inclusive and open to all District entrepreneurs and small business owners, regardless of race, who need capital funding. The article erroneously indicated that the DC BizCAP Program was established, “to procure capital for Black enterprises.”

2.     DC BizCAP provides subsidized interest rates to small businesses including those that are minority, Certified Business Enterprises and woman-owned.  For example, three out of the five businesses that received funding through DC BizCAP in fiscal year 2021 are minority-owned. Since the program’s inception in 2011, DISB’s support has facilitated $27 million in access to capital for District small businesses, 79 percent of which are minority-owned. The article had suggested the opposite–that the program is little known and therefore underutilized by Black business owners.

3.     While any funding application process may be time-consuming and not all applicants will meet lender requirements, we work closely with program participants to ensure success. It should be made clear that DC BizCAP is not a direct loan program. DC BizCAP provides loan enhancements — the Department can buy back a portion of the loan, provide additional collateral, or co-invest with lenders. the application process is dependent upon the lenders involved. Our work with program participants does not support the article’s characterization that the program is “cumbersome and it involves a lot of work and time” and other D.C. government agencies are better resources for capital funding.

While spreading the word about the DC BizCAP Program can be a challenge given that a small business owner would intuitively turn to the Department of Small & Local Business Development (DSLBD) for resources, we are actively promoting the program in new and inventive ways. Look for our print and digital advertising about the program and our workshops right here in The Washington Informer, in the Washington Business Journal, and on our social media platforms that include Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. DISB also partners with District agencies like DSLBD and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to promote the program to the business community through outreach events. In fiscal year 2021, for example, we held 10 workshops and forums attended by more than 230 entrepreneurs and small business owners.

For more information on DC BizCAP and how it can help your small business, contact Program Administrator Aaron Fenwick at 202-442-7821 or aaron.fenwick@dc.gov. Visit disb.dc.govfor information about upcoming events and workshops.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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