FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Brendon Miller, (202) 529-5505 ext. 224
Wacif Supports Made in D.C. Entrepreneurs at Reagan Airport
Innovative capital solution provides flexible funding, catalyzes growth for local makers
Washington, D.C. (November 26, 2019) –The Washington Area Community Investment Fund, Inc. (Wacif) announced today that it has extended a $50,000 line of credit to support local small businesses operating the Made in D.C. Popup Collaborative, a strategic initiative launched by the D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA), and airport concessionaire MarketPlace Development. The Collaborative, which comprises D.C.-based women and minority-owned businesses, has leveraged the line of credit as an innovative opportunity to support a variety of needs, including inventory management and hiring.
“We are thrilled to support the Made in D.C. Popup Collaborative through this innovative public-private partnership, and thankful to DSLBD for its leadership and support on the initiative,” said Wacif Executive Director Harold Pettigrew. “The Made in D.C. Airport Kiosk is a dynamic opportunity for local makers to grow their businesses, and we’re pleased to offer a new, creative solution to help them scale.”
The Made in D.C. Popup Collaborative, located in Reagan Washington National Airport Terminal B, was launched in May 2019, and has expanded to include wares from 20 entrepreneurs based in D.C. and certified through DSLBD’s Made in D.C. program, which supports D.C. makers and entrepreneurs. The kiosk is organized and led by Rahama Wright, founder and owner of Shea Yeleen, and a graduate of the first cohort of Wacif’s Ascend Capital Accelerator. Shea Yeleen is a D.C.-based beauty retailer and social enterprise which partners with women-owned cooperatives in Africa to turn shea seed into shea butter, the source of non-toxic, pure beauty products that restore health to our customers and build livelihoods in Africa.
“Together with DSLBD and our airport partners, we’ve curated an amazing local space for travelers to explore brands made in D.C.,” said Shea Yeleen Founder and Made in D.C. Kiosk Organizer Rahama Wright. “Wacif’s line of credit is helping these local entrepreneurs grow their businesses and pay employees a D.C. living wage. The Made in D.C. Airport kiosk is an example of how innovative public private partnerships can create equity and opportunity.”
Wacif’s flexible $50,000 line of credit product has been used by four Made in D.C. kiosk businesses – Shea Yeleen, Bailiwick Clothing, Bicycle Trash, and Culture Socks – primarily to purchase inventory and offset staffing costs resulting from surging sales at the kiosk. The Made in D.C. Airport kiosk is one of the airport’s highest-selling kiosks, and generating $20,000 in sales in its first five weeks alone.
“What I sell here is almost equal to what I sell in all other stores combined,” said Topaz Terry, Founder of Bicycle Trash, a retailer that makes high-end wearables and accessories from recycled bicycle parts. “The money I’ve made has allowed me to move into a larger space, purchase more equipment, and make more product.”
Wacif’s line of credit product is unique within, and tailored to, the regional economy, helping the area’s many contractors and retailers execute the large, strategic contracts that can catalyze significant, sustainable business growth. As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) committed to equity and opportunity in underserved D.C. area communities, Wacif’s line of credit, like its other financial products, are designed to help underinvested entrepreneurs grow their businesses, create jobs, and build community wealth.
To learn more about the Made in D.C. kiosk at Reagan National Airport, please visit https://www.flyreagan.com/dca/explore-made-dc-reagan-national. Holiday travelers can visit the kiosk in airport Terminal B, across from Tumi, to pick up fine products from DC makers and support local small businesses in advance of Small Business Saturday on November 30, 2019.
About the Washington Area Community Investment Fund
The Washington Area Community Investment Fund, Inc. (Wacif) is one of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area’s leading Community Development Financial Institution’s (CDFI) focused on small business development. Wacif’s mission is to increase equity and economic opportunity in underserved communities in the Washington, D.C. area by investing knowledge, social, and financial capital in low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs. In the last seven years, Wacif has invested over $9 million in underserved communities throughout the region. Learn more at http://wacif.org.
About the Made in D.C. Kiosk at Reagan National Airport
The Made in D.C. kiosk at Reagan National is a celebration of D.C.’s Maker community and products made right here in D.C. Launched in 2019 through an innovative partnership between DSLBD, MWAA, and MarketPlace Development, the kiosk features a carefully curated mix of retail offerings that showcase local makers. Learn more at https://www.flyreagan.com/dca/explore-made-dc-reagan-national.