Ascend Capital Accelerator

  • Wacif’s new Ascend Capital Accelerator was created to address greater economic trends for entrepreneurs of color and women entrepreneurs and help close the access to capital gap.

    Ascend enables local entrepreneurs to maximize their ability to obtain and utilize capital. This hands-on, asset-based development program consists of an interactive workshop series combined with small group matching and wraparound individualized support, with the goal of building human and financial assets for local small businesses.

    Participants will meet and connect with local business lenders and learn best practices in operations and financial management to ensure they are best positioned to obtain growth capital.

    For more information please contact Tim Hampton, Entrepreneurship Coach and Loan Officer, at or 202-529-5505 ext. 222

We are proud to announce below the 24 entrepreneurs in the inaugural cohort of the Ascend Capital Accelerator! The inaugural Ascend cohort includes:

Program Delivery: Participants will complete the program through various forms of learning including; individual coaching, classroom training, site visits, and mentoring.

  • Program lasts eight (8) weeks
  • A weekly commitment of four (4) hours should be expected
  • Core competencies will be developed around: (1) finance and capital readiness, (2) marketing and sales, (3) operations and management, and (4) business model optimization.
  • Business Training

    Participants will receive focused and structured courses around establishing and scaling their business


  • Business Coaching

    Participants will work closely with staff to receive personalized business coaching. They will also develop a Board of Advisors to help guide their business decisions.

  • Access to Capital

    Entrepreneurs will meet and connect with local business investors and lenders.


The Problem

Minority and women entrepreneurs continue to face barriers to start or grow their small business.


  • 81x

    Wealth Disparity
    In the District of Columbia the wealth gap is more of a chasm. White households have a Net Worth 81 times greater than the Districts black households.1

  • 3x

    More likely to be denied
    Minority-owned businesses are three times more likely to be denied credit2

  • 3.7x

    Value by Race
    White-owned businesses in DC are valued 3.7x as high as businesses owned by people of color. This is 1.8x higher than the national average3

  • 3.4x

    Value by Gender
    Male-owned businesses in DC are valued 3.4x as high as businesses owned by women. Nationally, this ranks DC in the bottom 1/34


SaveMade possible through the generous support of the DC Department of Housing and Community Development, Capital One, Citi Community Development, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.


1 Urban Institute “Impact of Great Recession and Beyond”, Washington City Paper