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Introducing NDI’s Community Navigator Pilot Program

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Learn more about the DC-Area Community Navigator Pilot Program and its partnerships that support small business owners. A full website with more information is coming soon.

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MAY 25 – WEBINAR: Building Your Team

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For too long, entrepreneurs and small business owners with disabilities have been underserved and an invisible part of the small business community. This SBA funding to a consortium of diverse, trusted culturally-knowledgeable partners in the disability, Black and Latinx communities, in collaboration with preferred SBA lenders and city, county and state economic development agencies, will have a substantial impact on the economy of the greater DC area. —Thomas Foley, Executive Director, National Disability Institute

Led by Diego Mariscal, a Latino disabled entrepreneur, this small business development program, established in 2012, now provides services and supports to over 250 individuals with disabilities in greater DC. With funding from private foundations, DC Deputy Mayor’s Office Planning and Economic Development, the DC Office of Small and Local Business Development and Google for Startups, it offers online courses, peer support, career coaching and one-on-one mentoring. Over 50 percent of individuals receiving services are individuals with disabilities who are Black or Latinx. Over 90 percent are individuals with disabilities of low or moderate income.

Disability:IN has pioneered efforts nationwide to certify disability-owned business enterprises (DOBE) to benefit from supplier diversity commitments of Fortune 100 companies (billion-dollar roundtable). DOBE certification requires the business be at least 51 percent owned, operated and managed by a person with a disability, complete a series of trainings and pass an exam. Over 300 DOBEs have been certified. In 2019, DOBEs generated over $536 million in revenues. DOBE certification is also accepted now by Ohio, Illinois, Connecticut and Massachusetts for procurement preferences with small business minority set asides.

Results One is a woman- and Black-owned small business in Washington, DC with over 10 years’ experience delivering nationally recognized expert services to address software, systems, website and online materials accessibility and usability to conform with federal standards. Results One will improve the accessibility and responsiveness of organizations and agencies that are part of the proposed Community Navigator expanded ecosystem.

GHA has 30-years of training and TA to support individuals across the spectrum of disabilities to become self-employed and small business owners. GHA is funded over the next four years by the U.S. Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration to manage a National TA Center on Self-Employment to improve the capacity of state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies to expand services and strategies to support individuals with disabilities to open and sustain small businesses.

LULAC is the largest and oldest Hispanic organization in the United States. It coordinates with community-based organizations in the design and implementation of Small Business Development Academies that target Latino women of low and moderate income to support small business development and growth.

Life Asset provides microloans and training to support entrepreneurs and small business owners. It uses social collateral rather than traditional loan underwriting criteria to secure loans. Founded in 2011, the client base is 100 percent low-income with over 90 percent being individuals who are Black or Latinx. Twelve percent are also individuals with disabilities. The small businesses supported have typically been rejected for a loan by traditional lenders. Ninety-six percent of supported small businesses are still in operation one year after paying off their loan.

DOF was launched in 2007 as a community development financial institution. Based in New York, DOF is the only certified CDFI by U.S. Treasury focused exclusively on lending to benefit the disability community nationwide. DOF provides competitive, market rate financing for entrepreneurs and small business owners with disabilities served by NDI’s pilot program. Five years ago, DOF established the Disability CDFI Coalition which includes over 40 other CDFIs that DOF will seek to interest in also providing affordable loans to CNPP’s target audience.

The Institute was established at Gallaudet University to support Deaf students and alumni to start and grow small businesses. It will work to create a Deaf-friendly and responsive environment to build the next cadre of small businesses owned by Deaf individuals to the greater DC area.

APA is the oldest and largest Black fraternity on college campuses. The DC chapter involves Black brothers who are graduates of Howard University and other historically Black colleges and universities in the mid-Atlantic region with a membership base of over 300 alumni. APA will provide a mentorship program and expert pro bono counseling to help entrepreneurs and small business owners who are Black and disabled with financial, accounting and marketing assistance, including filing applications for SBA and other federal benefit programs.

ServiceSource has been supporting employment and entrepreneurs with disabilities for over 40 Years. In 2015, the nonprofit began training and TA to help individuals with intellectual, mental health and physical disabilities in Northern Virginia become self-employed and has worked with over 200 individuals. ServiceSource will offer expanded training virtually and in person, peer support and mentor relationships as well as increased community resource coordination.

Led by Kelvin Boston, an ABLE Business streaming channel will be created as part of the Community Navigator Pilot Project that will offer free on-demand small business and financial health programming that will be accessed via mobile phones, smart televisions and computers. These programs will help start, sustain and grow small businesses in the greater DC area. Boston Media, LLC, is a Black-owned small business, which has produced the Moneywise series on PBS stations.

  • DC Bar Pro Bono Center
  • DC Disability Services Administration/Rehabilitation Services Administration
  • DC Office of Disability Rights
  • DC Women’s Business Center
  • Howard Small Business Development Center
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Maryland Small Business Development Center
  • Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation
  • Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development
  • Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation
  • TD Bank
  • Virginia Career Works – Alexandria/Arlington Regional Workforce Council
  • Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitation Services
  • Virginia Small Business Development Center

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