Learn how to apply for Great Street Grants and give your business a needed boost

by Rachel Maisler

Boots-on-the-ground-help for Great Streets Grant applicants. 
If you own a local business, a Great Streets Grant is a great way to spruce up your business, add needed facilities and features, and keep you successful. Learn how to apply at the Great Streets Bootcamp hosted by Emory Beacon of Light. Classes begin Thursday, March 15th at 5pm and will meet every other Thursday for 6 sessions at Beacon of Light office (6203 Piney Branch Rd. NW)

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Emory Beacon of Light, a local Petworth community development organization has set out to help help local business take advantage of the District’s Great Streets Grant. The grant, which launched in 2006, is designed to help small businesses in emerging neighborhoods revitalize their space - from renovating storefronts to upgrading equipment, and more.

Petworth News sat down with Alisa Molyneaux, Executive Director of Emory Beacon of Light, to learn more about the Great Streets Boot Camp her organization is offering for DC businesses.  

Petworth News: What is a Great Streets Grant? 

Alisa Molyneaux: The District of Columbia offers a special grant for small business owners to help them revitalize their businesses and fund projects that will increase revenue and foot traffic. 

PN: How did Emory Beacon of Light get involved with the Great Streets program? 

AM: Emory Beacon of Light, Inc. is a community development corporation and we have a grant through the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). We have been involved with the Great Streets program for about five years now -- trying to help all the local businesses through the application process and grant cycle. We try to encourage all business owners who are eligible to come learn about the grant. 

PN: Why are Great Street Grants important to Petworth? 

AM: A lot of the small businesses along Georgia Avenue make enough money to survive, but not enough to make capital improvements like a purchasing a new freezer or installing new lighting. These are the things a lot of businesses need or can secure the money to do. It’s hard to get a loan for these, too. Mr. Wash used it on Georgia Ave used it to update his car wash. He wasn’t able to get a loan to do it, but was able to get a grant to do it. This grant is very important to our community. 

PN: Your organization is offering a boot camp for grant applicants. Tell us more about it. 

AM: Applying for the grant is like doing your taxes online - there’s lots of paperwork, a business owner may not have updated their updated resume in 20 years. We’re here to help business owners through the process. The grant cycle is usually about 6-8 weeks. A lot of small business owners don’t have the time to to do it in that short of period because they’re busy running their businesses. 

Classes will begin Thursday March 15 at 5pm and will meet every other Thursday for 6 sessions t 6203 Piney Branch Rd. NW (Beacon of Light Offices).

Each session, we’ll talk about a certain section of the grant and will have homework of what needs to be ready for next class. We help attendees focus and work through the homework so they can successfully apply for the grant. This is a much more proactive way to approach the grant process, so business owners be ready before it opens. 

PN: Who should attend? 

AM: Any and all small business owners who are looking to get $50,000 to help upgrade their business! The less prepared you are, the more you need to attend this class. 

PN: How do people sign up for the boot camp? 

AM: People can call our office at 202-829-5732 or just show up. March 15th at 5 pm at 6203 Piney Branch Rd. NW (Beacon of Light Offices). 

PN: Anything else I should include?

AM: This grant is free government money. You really want to come and get it! 

Rachel Maisler

Rachel joined Petworth News first as the editor for the Community Calendar, and then against her better judgement, agreed to become a contributing writer to the blog in August 2016.

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