Washington, D.C. (September 21, 2021) – The Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif) announced today a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) through their Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME). The award will support Wacif’s capacity to provide access to affordable growth capital and technical assistance services for historically underserved small businesses across the Greater Washington region. Out of more than 100 applications, Wacif joins 27 organizations nationwide in receiving a PRIME grant award, including five regional awardees.
“Wacif is committed to driving an equitable economic recovery by helping underserved entrepreneurs become and remain resilient despite the new normalcy of disruption they face,” said Wacif CEO Harold Pettigrew, Jr. “The PRIME award will deepen Wacif’s work to support entrepreneurs, and we are grateful to partner with the SBA in this effort.”
Larry Webb, District Director of the SBA’s Washington Metropolitan Area District Office, added, “We congratulate Wacif on its PRIME grant award and look forward to working with them to further level the playing field for underserved neighborhoods in the region seeking equitable access to capital to grow their small businesses.”
Through the PRIME award, Wacif will provide business advisory services to support entrepreneurs in getting ready for growth capital, including capital products from the SBA. Wacif’s programming will focus on resilience, reflecting the new normalcy of disruption, including COVID-19, that entrepreneurs face. Instituted by Congress in the 1999 PRIME Act, the PRIME awards provide support to organizations that ensure equitable access to capital for underinvested entrepreneurs across the nation. Many small business owners are unable to access traditional means of business funding and often turn to community-based organizations for capital growth and small business advising assistance. The PRIME award expands necessary capacity-building to assist small businesses to these entities.
This timely partnership exemplifies Wacif’s comprehensive efforts to support the Greater Washington region’s economic recovery. Throughout 2021, Wacif has served as a trusted partner for various public, private, and government entities, deploying comprehensive financial relief and business advisory services programs to support small businesses in the region. Two dedicated resources launched this year include the Enterprising Women of Color DMV Business Center (launched in partnership with the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency) and the Greater Washington Center for Employee Ownership (launched with support from Citi Community Development and Kaiser Permanente). In 2020, the organization deployed over $11 million in capital through grants, debt relief, and loans to more than 1,800 entrepreneurs, supporting nearly 19,000 jobs as a response to the COVID-19 public health and economic crises.
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 (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. To learn more about Wacif’s mission, visit www.wacif.org.