Impact Economy

Washington, DC | At The Intersection of Impact and Opportunity

DC is an epicenter of global and local impact. DC’s impact economy  contains an unparalleled mix of leading international development institutions, grantmaking and social advocacy organizations, philanthropies, incubators and co-working spaces, social entrepreneurs, double bottom line businesses, and impact investors. A combination of influence, top talent, and access to investment dollars, make DC the global capital of social enterprise and impact.


DC is the #1 city in the US for Social Enterprise (Social Enterprise Ecosystem Survey, 2016, Halcyon)

  • DC topped the list from a study conducted among almost 400 social entrepreneurs, who ranked the following four key pillars of successful ecosystems:  human capital, funding, quality of life, and regulation & receptivity

DC has the #1 most nonprofits per capita in the US

  • DC accounts for having the most nonprofits per capita in the US with one nonprofit for every
    86 residents. Nonprofits and civic organizations account for over 55,000 jobs in the District.  However, this number does not include jobs generated from DC’s growing social enterprises

69% of DC startups self-identify as a “double-bottom line” business

41% of DC start-ups consider their business to operate in the impact space. (Source: According to the 2016 Fosterly DC Startup Census Report)

Millennial representation in the impact economy. Millennials made up 51% of those employed by the nonprofit sector in DC in 2015 (as compared to 38% in 2014).3

Why Impact Companies Choose DC

  • High Concentration of Influencers: DC has an unparalleled concentration of decision makers, thought leaders and potential customers – including global development institutions like the World Bank, non-profits, advocates, philanthropies and other mission-oriented organizations.
  • Culture of Entrepreneurship: DC has numerous incubators and co-working spaces that support entrepreneurs striving to affect social change: Halcyon Incubator, Impact Hub, 1776, Inclusive Innovation Incubator (In3), Seed Spot, Peace Tech Accelerator, DCode42, Global Development Incubator, and AARP’s The Hatchery and Open Gov Hub.  
  • Highly Educated, Socially Conscious Workforce: According to a 2016 U.S. Census Bureau community survey, Washington, DC has the most educated metropolitan area in the country. With the third highest concentration of universities in the country, DC produces a workforce with deep policy expertise, complemented by a thriving tech talent pool.
  • Access to Impact Investment: DC-area companies raised $2.7 billion of venture capital funding in 2016 (26% increase from last year). DC is also home to more than 7 different Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and numerous foundations.
  • incentives.dc.gov is a searchable database of all incentives and other District support programs

Resources for Impact Economy Companies:

Visit www.incentives.dc.gov, a searchable database of all incentives and other District support programs for companies

  • DC Biz Cap programs (Dept. of Insurance, Securities and Banking)
  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), On the Job Training and Apprenticeship Reimbursements Programs (Dept. of Employment Services)
  • Qualified High Technology Company tax incentives (Office of the Chief Financial Officer)
  • Grants for arts and humanities non-profits (CAH)
  • Many more at www.incentives.dc.gov

Who is involved DC’s impact economy?

  • B corps, public benefit corporations and other for-profit enterprises (and the entrepreneurs who run them) that enable positive social change or environmental improvement
  • Residents with ideas about how to make their neighborhoods better
  • Advocates and organizers working to make the world better
  • Philanthropies and philanthropists
  • Impact investors
  • Nonprofit, public sector, and faith-based organization workers
  • Social impact consultants
  • People who make charitable contributions
  • Companies large and small that strengthen the community through, for example, service, investment in underserved areas, shared ownership structures, inclusive hiring practices and talent pipeline development and local procurement
  • Corporate social responsibility officers