Washington D.C. has long been seen as a place of innovation. Is it any wonder these advanced ideas have inspired generations of businesspeople? In a world where working a 9 to 5 job no longer counts as working a “steady job,” it’s important for people to learn how to become their own bosses.
To help our fellow innovators understand the ins and outs of starting a small business in Washington DC, here are the top 23 resources for inventors and entrepreneurs in Washington DC as recommended by the bold and brave folks at Bold Patents.
As one of DC’s top universities, Georgetown University needs no introduction. The Catholic and Jesuit founded university earned its educational accolades more than two centuries ago. Thanks to their drive to encourage the next scions of tech, this mention is all about street cred.
Driven to nurture the future lions of business lurking within their diverse, forward-thinking student body, the Office of Technology was founded in 2002. It underscores the University’s commitment to facilitate bringing innovative products to the international marketplace. They offer forward-thinking events, such as “Speed dating” for Innovation, to help connect researchers with entrepreneurs in a bid to watch brilliant ideas turn into billion-dollar ventures.
Just be aware that, as is common practice for most, universities any invention that you come up with while working at Georgetown may become their property. That being said, the opportunity to network with investors looking for ideas, the ability to meet a wide range of eager investors that you might have otherwise ignored you greatly outweighs any risks.
While it’s one thing to study entrepreneurship in the sanctity of a classroom or accelerator, here at George Washington University, students have 24/7 access to the world of entrepreneurship right within the city itself.
Located in the heart of Washington, D.C., George Washington University provides its students with “unparalleled access to leading international institutions, multinational corporations, global media outlets, and the governments of 177 countries via their resident embassies.” Regardless as to which career path a student wishes to take, everyone at GW is guaranteed to become the innovators of tomorrow.
Looking for a place to unleash your inner inventor? In that case, look no further than GW’s Technology Commercialization Office (TCO)! Serving as a bridge between in-house laboratory research and companies, GW’s very own TCO oversees all aspects of technology commercialization within the university. Here, students also have access to all of the university’s very own exclusive entrepreneurial resources, including some of the city’s top investors!
With an AACSB accredited business school, dynamic Howard University offers professional and joint degree programs in an awe-inspiring 12 categories of study. No wonder Howard University’s business programs are considered the best in the nation!
Through their brand new Inclusive Innovation Incubator program, they offer their members an evolving array of services, including pitch events and hackathons. For those who thrive on collaboration and those who need quiet, the University provides rentable desk and office space options. If those offerings weren’t enough of a temptation, they specialize in offering bootcamps, training, and mentorships that help guide you over the inevitable rough patches.
Did we mention that former African American writer Zora Neale Hurston was a fellow alummus of Howard?
Founded on February 24, 1893, American University has since prepared its students for life after college by allowing them to create a personalized curriculum of “theoretical study and experiential learning, taught by internationally-recognized faculty in courses that take them from the classroom, to the nation’s capital, and all around the globe.”
While this acclaimed university is often touted for its community service and political science programs, it’s its business and technology programs such as the Kogod School of Business Research that stands out as the University’s crown gem.
For those who wish to take their entrepreneurial skills to the next level, American University offers an incubator called the AU Entrepreneurship Incubator. Here, students can learn how to start a business from scratch all the while engaging themselves in a variety of networking and educational opportunities.
Every month, they host a guest speaker to come and talk about the inventing process. Past speakers include successful inventors, marketing experts, officials from the US Patent & Trademark Office of Independent Inventor Programs, and many others!
At this time, the group is looking to host more speakers. If you or anyone you know is interested in speaking at an upcoming meeting, or would like to recommend a speaker, visit the group’s Speakers page.
When it comes to bringing your ideas to market, there’s no doubt that the legal process can be very confusing and time-consuming. For those who need a little bit of help navigating the system, there’s the DC’s very own US Inventor group.
Serving as the main voice for inventors in our nation’s capital, US Inventor teaches its members how to “promote and defend the invention process.” This way, future inventors could continue to pursue their passions and change lives for the better.
It’s true what the people at US Inventor say. “Innovation is the cornerstone of the American Dream.” What better way to get inventors to understand the inventing process than to teach them about it from a legal standpoint?
Since 2016, BEACON DC has stood as a robust grassroots network of over 3,000 women founders and resources empowering female entrepreneurs to become their own bosses and live the lives that they deserve to live.
“With leadership from Georgetown’s Institute for Technology Law & Policy, the Office of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, and grassroots energy from a broad network of women founders, BEACON demonstrates how investors, mentors, and government can work together to ensure women business owners have an equal opportunity to succeed,” according to its website.
While most groups focus on creating networking events and coworking spaces for female entrepreneurs to come together and collaborate with one another, BEACON DC goes above and beyond to the point of helping women change the system from a legal standpoint.
Created in partnership with Google for Startups, StartUp Grind DC is a local chapter geared to those looking to learn lifelong business lessons from fellow founders, innovators, educators, and investors who share lessons learned on the road to building great companies.
Originally, Startup Grind started in Silicon Valley. Since then, it has expanded to other cities such as Phoenix and helped millions of entrepreneurs, “build their businesses, connect with strategic partners, and secure funding” by hosting fireside chats like the one shown in the video below.
Speaking of fireside chats, for those of you who are interested in attending the next one, it would take place on February, 20th, 2020 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. This chat will be hosted by Laura O’ Shaughnessy, who is the co-founder of SocialCode, a social media consulting company and holds an MBA from MIT’s world-renowned Sloan School of Management.
Perhaps the best resource D.C. offers wanna-be tech gurus is the Small Business Resource Center. The SBRC offers every service a budding entrepreneur could need to start and nurture a new venture.
By harnessing nonprofit services and throwing the power of local District government and federal government agencies behind it, the SBRC offers world-class resources. They even offer business development training, state-of-the-art workshops and even one-on-one help with those who need it.
Looking to start a business right after retirement? In that case, look no further than the center’s newly established Senior Day program! This program is open to those who are 60 years of age or older and want to learn how to start a business from scratch.
We mentioned this organization a number of times on our previous resource pages (such as our Chicago resource page), but for those of you who don’t know, SCORE is a national organization which has gained a reputation for being very accommodating by offering free, confidential counseling (both online and offline) and free to reduced cost services such as workshops and meetups.
Here in the DC area, anyone who is looking to understand where their business stands in today’s economy can come and schedule an appointment with SCORE at any of their (current)18 locations.
Want to learn more about the DC SCORE chapter and how it operates? In that case, check out the video below!
Otherwise, if you’re interested in learning how to implement crowdfunding, SCORE will be offering a free workshop on Friday, February 14th, 2020 at 9:30 am EST.
The DC SBDC takes pride in being a “one-stop-shop for small business success.” They offer multiple avenues of help whether you need help getting your venture off the ground, with financing or cultivating it into a worldwide phenomenon.
It turns the entire nerve-wracking step of putting your life and money on the line a little less scary. They offer veterans and newbies help with training, research, and even pro bono business mentoring. They’ll even hold your hand if you need to ask for a loan.
Although DC SBDC doesn’t offer out loans, they and the Small Business Administration have partnered with several banks. But even if your startup becomes the juggernaut you know it can be, the DC SBDC will always be there to help.
Want to learn how to develop a successful business plan? In that case, come attend a free workshop hosted by DC SBDC on the first Thursday of every month from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
Small Business Majority is a national small business advocacy organization, founded and run by small business owners. As one of America’s top political supporters of the underdog business owner, Small Business Majority actively engages and supports them by informing them of key issues that impact small businesses such as healthcare and paid leave.
To do so, they implement extensive scientific opinion polling and thorough economic research practices. They also utilize focus groups and educational programs such as the entrepreneurship program. This program offers in-person and online educational seminars (among other resources) in order to empower self-employed entrepreneurs and employees.
Looking to turn your latest and greatest idea into a business, but don’t know where to start? In that case, check out the video below!
Founded on October 1, 2009, the 2015 SBA Women’s Business Center of Excellence award-winning Washington, DC Women’s Business Center offers female business owners and entrepreneurs with all of the resources needed to start a business.
These services include:
Access to capital
Mentoring and networking opportunities
And much more!
At this time, they are currently undergoing a few changes at the DC WBC. For this reason, they are postponing all counseling sessions until March 2020.
In the meantime, they are still offering workshops and have implemented a detailed toolkit for anyone looking to take their business(es) to the next level.
As one of DC’s top federal programs, the DC Department of Small & Local Business Development (DSLBD) connects fellow business owners to many of the city’s top business teams and programs in Capitol Hill. From crowdfunding sources to city maker hubs, the DSLBD has been helping fellow innovators achieve their dreams since 2012.
Looking to bring your ideas and inventions to the DC market? In that case, look no further than the DSLBD’s Made in DC Program! This program is for DC makers looking to learn more about locally-made DC products and interact with other DC makers.
Otherwise, if you’re looking to revitalize your Main Street program or commercial district, then attend one of the DC Main Streets 101 Training days! These events consist of interactive workshops, which are great for developing new entrepreneurial and inventing skills. The next one will take place on Sat, March 7, 2020, from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm EST.
1863 Ventures is a business development program designed to bridge the gap between entrepreneurship and equity. Their programs seek to accelerate new majority entrepreneurs from high potential to high growth. Their vision is to create $100B of new wealth and economic power for and by the New Majority. The firm provides several programs designed to support various stages in the lifecycle to include early-stage and growth-stage.
Equity and equality
Honoring the power of the new majority
They also have 3 different programs, depending on the stage of your business. If you’re looking for an accelerator guaranteed to jumpstart your business, check out 1863 Ventures!
1776 is the largest network of incubators that cultivates and empowers startup ecosystems in the Northeast Corridor. They exist to “strengthen the cities and economies by building a thriving community of entrepreneurs.” It also comes with a seed fund.
They are focused on helping entrepreneurs in challenging, government-dominated markets because of their roots in Washington, DC, which give them “proprietary connections, insights, and tools.” Altogether, they can be used to drive massive scale revenue growth.
They connect startups…
To the latest wisdom on how to build highly scalable businesses through its curriculum.
Expert mentors who can help startups quickly solve problems
To markets through our institutional and corporate partners
To capital through our investor network
To talent through our community relationships across the globe
And much more!
At one point, former President Barack Obama came to visit the incubator. Don’t believe us? Check out the photo down below!
As one of the most immersive incubators in the world that focuses on both social impact and profit, the Halcyon Incubator helps fellow social entrepreneurs thrive by having them participate in an 18-month fellowship.
This fellowship consists of…
A diverse cohort of fellows receives free residency and workspace
Mentorship and leadership coaching
Robust support from business consultants
A living stipend to turn their entrepreneurial vision into reality
According to the Fellows engage with the program in two major stages:
Residency (5 months): Fellows live and work at the Halcyon Incubator with total access to expert guidance. The Fellows participate in core programming that includes family breakfast, pitch sessions, skill series, health series, advisor office hours, and more. Their hard work and dedication culminate in a final showcase at the end of the residency phase to an audience of 100+ partners, mentors, advisors, supporters, and potential investors
Post-Residency (13 months): Fellows continue to work at the Halcyon Incubator, with free access to all resources to further build their networks, secure funding, and grow their venture
Regardless of how many years of experience you have run a business, anyone who is looking to make a difference and make a profit is welcome to attend.
As one of DC’s very first technology and community-focused incubators, Inclusive Innovation Incubator (In3DC) offers everything that a technology-focused startup could ever need in order to become the next future Fortune 500 company in America.
From coding classes to hackathons, In3DC is perfect for those who have a passion for all things related to technology and as such want to take their skills to the next level. They even have courses for people who want to build up their soft skills, including networking and interviewing.
Looking to get into the world of Python programming? In that case, come by to In3DC’s FREE Python Programming course, which is open to the public. The class will start on Tuesday, February 4th, 2020 at 6 pm and end on Thursday, March 5th, 2020 at 8 pm.
Nova Labs is the largest makerspace in the Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) area, located in Reston, VA. They are a passionate community of makers, artists, craftspeople, engineers, inventors, and entrepreneurs who believe in collaboration and helping people unleash their inner innovator. So whether you’re a pro, a hobbyist, or a beginner, you can find your space to make at Nova Labs!
At this time, they are offering the following services and classes:
Internet of Things
Crafts such as Knitting and Crocheting, Sewing, Silkscreening
And much, much more!
Not sure if the world of makerspaces is for you? In that case, stop by the facility for a tour every Wednesday at 7 pm. They also offer open house sessions every second Saturday of the month.
New Vantage Group (NVG) is a Washington, DC area seed funding group that specializes in early-stage venture funding. For nearly 15 years, NVG has managed five different angel funds and groups which have invested over $50 million in more than 55 primarily mid-Atlantic-based companies.
Additionally, they have advised entrepreneurs, students, and other angel groups, developed many workshops and helped to grow the early-stage investing industry by co-creating national and international non-profit institutions such as the New Dominion Angels.
Unlike companies that only receive investments from institutional venture capital or individuals, NVG portfolio companies gain access to the company’s entire network of active angel investors. For those looking to build a long-lasting relationship with a seed funding company in the DC area, New Vantage Group is considered one of the best companies to go to.
While the average person would imagine a library to be a place to check out books and study, here at Georgetown University, their library goes beyond the typical study and resource place.
Dubbed as Georgetown University’s very own “Library of the Future,” the Georgetown University Library is open 24 hours a day for students and faculty members looking to become the next innovators of America.
Looking to turn your ideas and research into multimedia projects? In that case, stop by the library’s very own Maker Hub. Here, you can utilize the hub’s very own 3D printers, laser cutters, print production capabilities, Raspberry Pi single-board computers, and Arduino electronic prototyping platforms.
As one of DC’s future go-to places for all of your technological needs, at this time, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, D.C.’s central library, is undergoing construction.
When it reopens in late Fall 2020, the library will feature:
A spectacular new, vibrant and transparent entryway
A sculptured monumental staircase
A large auditorium and conference center
Creative spaces for fabrication, music production and art creation
Ground-level café with patio
Double-height reading room
Newly designed special collections space
A rooftop terrace
The Fab Test Lab – The DC Public Library’s future makerspace and coding lab area
Want a sneak of the library upon completion? In that case, check out the video down below:
Phone #: 202-727-0321
Washington DC Patent Attorneys
When it comes to bringing ideas and inventions to market, there’s no question that the patent filing process can be so confusing to navigate.
That is why here at Bold Patents, we exist to help our clients through the legal processes of intellectual property in Washington DC. This way, they too can get their innovations to market as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible.
Because they focus only on patents, they are able to find the lawyer(s) that best fit a certain company’s needs.If you would like to know more about what a patent is and what the steps for finding the patent that’s right for your invention, then check out this article on what is a patent.
There you have it! The top 23 resources for inventors and entrepreneurs in Washington DC:
Georgetown University – Great for students looking for “forward-thinking events” such as “Speed dating” for Innovation
George Washington University – A university that provides its students with “unparalleled access to leading international institutions, multinational corporations, global media outlets, and the governments of 177 countries via their resident embassies”
Howard University – An African-American based university equipt with an AACSB accredited business school
American University – An acclaimed university that allows its students to create a personalized curriculum of “theoretical study and experiential learning, taught by internationally-recognized faculty in courses that take them from the classroom to the nation’s capital, and all around the globe”
Inventors Network of the Capital Area (INCA) – Great for inventors looking to network with other inventors in the area
US Inventor – An organization that teaches its members how to “promote and defend the invention process.”
Entrepreneur Networking Groups
Beacon DC – A robust grassroots network of over 3,000 women founders and resources empowering female entrepreneurs to become their own bosses
Startup Grind – A Silicon-Valley based organization known for its fireside chats
Small Business Development and Support
Small Business Resource Center – A government-funded organization that offers business development training, state-of-the-art workshops and even one-on-one help with those who need it
SCORE Washington DC – A not-for-profit national organization that offers free, confidential counseling (both online and offline) and free to reduced cost services such as workshops and meetups
D.C. Small Business Development Center – Your “one-stop-shop for small business success” in the DC area
Small Business Majority – One of America’s top political supporters of the underdog business owner
Washington DC Women’s Business Center – An award-winning 2015 SBA Women’s Business Center of Excellence organization
DC Department of Small & Local Business Development (DSLBD)
Accelerators and Incubators
1863 Ventures – A place that supports diversity, equity and equality, universal opportunity, and honoring the power of the new majority
1776 Incubator – The largest network of incubators that cultivates and empowers startup ecosystems in the Northeast Corridor
Halcyon Incubator – Great for social entrepreneurs looking to bring their ideas to life
Inclusive Innovation Incubator – Great for tech startups looking to take their business and technology skills to the next level
Nova Labs – The largest makerspace in the Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) area
New Vantage Group – A Washington, DC area seed funding group that specializes in early-stage venture funding
Georgetown Library – Open 24 hours for students and faculty to use the Maker Lab
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library – Central Library – The future home of The Fab Test Lab
Washington DC Patent Attorneys
Bold Patents – Your future go-to place for all of your patenting needs!
Now tell us, what do you think of these resources? Are there any others that you recommend that we add to our list? Let us know in the comments below!
Legal Note: This blog article does not constitute legal advice. Although the article was written by a licensed USPTO patent attorney there are many factors and complexities that come into patenting an idea. We recommend you consult a lawyer if you want legal advice for your particular situation. No attorney-client or confidential relationship exists by simply reading and applying the steps stated in this blog article.