Department of Small and Local Business Development

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This page contains information about  Department of Small and Local Business Development  services for Spanish speakers.

Grow Your Business

Are you thinking of starting a business?

Are you considering starting a business? It is a good idea to formulate a business plan to guide you in the execution of your initiative. A well-developed business plan serves as a model to operate your business and demonstrates to financial institutions or potential partners that you have a plan to follow for the success of your business.

While you are writing your plan, the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) is available to help. Through the "Small Business Resource Center" individual businesses have access to our advisory and training seminars.

Please call 202-727-3900 for additional information.

Financial Resources for Small Businesses

We want to see your business prosper.

Growing businesses need capital. In the DSLBD, you will have the support of a wide network of local and regional resources ready to help you with your business needs. We provide comprehensive advice and educational workshops, as well as connections to financial loan organizations. From small loans to technology financing, the DSLBD provides small businesses with access to the financial capital necessary to compete.

DSLBD grants and loans can help small and local business owners improve the facade of their businesses, expand store hours and much more. Our financial assistance is aimed at helping specific parts of the District or helping businesses that face specific problems. If you now have a business located in the District, you may be able to benefit from some of our programs.

  • Small Business Improvement Grant   The purpose of the Small Business Improvement Grant (the "Program") is: 1) to support the expansion of existing small businesses; 2) increase the fiscal base of the District; 3) create new jobs for District residents; 4) create opportunities for businesses that are Certified Commercial Enterprises (CBEs); and 5) encourage businesses to meet the goals of the DC Sustainable Plan.
  • Small loans for CBEs   If you are a certified business enterprise (CBE), a small loan can help you grow your business.
  • Improvements to Business Facades   Does the facade of your business look a bit decayed? Are you thinking of fixing it or have you recently completed a modernization of the facade of your store? We have programs in certain parts of the District that can reimburse you for part of the costs.

Please call 202-727-3900 for additional information.

Get certified

Connecting small and local businesses with contracting opportunities from the DC government.

By becoming a Certified Business Enterprise (CBE), you will have preference in the acquisition opportunities offered by the District of Columbia. The CBE program helps position your business to better compete in the contracting opportunities of the DC government.

CBE certification criteria.

To qualify for CBE certification, in addition to other requirements, your business must meet the following criteria:

  • The main business office must be located in the District of Columbia
  • The Executive Director and senior employees in the administration of the business enterprise must perform their administrative functions in their main office located in the District
  • The business must demonstrate that it conforms to one of the following points:

1. More than 50% of the employees of the business enterprise are residents of the District;

2. The owners of more than 50% of the business enterprise are residents of the District; or

3. More than 50% of the assets of the business enterprise, except bank accounts, are located in the District; and more than 50% of the gross income of the business enterprise is gross income in the District.

For the new applicants the steps to become a CBE are:

1. Attend the mandatory CBE pre-certification orientation (not applicable for re-certification, updating and certification of joint ventures);

2. Submit the  CBE application online  (the online application must include the upload of the points in the checklist)

3. Review and determination of the DSLBD.

Please call for additional information. 

The DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) is the destination for resources for small businesses in the District. We provide business owners with direct assistance and specific programs for each phase of the business life cycle. The programs we offer will help you equip yourself with the tools you need to grow your business and become more competitive.

To learn more about DSLBD programs, please visit our programs page here .

To become a DSLBD customer and start with personal instruction, visit our Small Business University and sign up.

About us

Our mission

The Department for Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) supports the development, economic growth and retention of businesses based in the District, and promotes economic development in the commercial areas of the District.

Our vision

The DSLBD has a vision of a commercial environment in which: DC businesses are instantly connected to local, federal and global business opportunities; business procedures with the government are fast, safe and effective; and that each entrepreneur and each business with a great idea and a great plan have the capital to make them a reality.

Please call for additional information.