Impact Economy

Washington, DC

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. Members of DC’s impact economy are tackling a wide range of issues. Some examples: Public Health, Education, Inclusive Entrepreneurship & Finance, International Development, Neighborhood & Community Development

Quick Facts

#1 City in the US for Social Enterprise

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.

Source: Social Enterprise Ecosystem Survey, 2016, Halcyon

#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.

Source: PNP Staffing Group. 2016-2017 Nonprofit Salaries & Staffing Report

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

DC is a National Hub for “Eds and Meds”

DC ranks the 3rd highest employment cluster of educational institutions and the 5th highest cluster of health services in the nation.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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 15+ universities, 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.

Resources For Impact Economy is a searchable database of all incentives and other District support programs

Business Spotlight

Misfit Juicery

Misfit Juicery

Over 20 billion pounds of fresh produce goes unharvested or unsold every year because it is the wrong size, shape or color to be sold at retail. Thousands of pounds of trimming and scrap waste goes into the landfill when companies make fresh cut products like carrot sticks and watermelon cubes. Misfit makes delicious, nutritious cold-pressed juices with 70-80% recovered fruits and veggies.

WDCEP leads the #WeDC campaign, the most successful digital campaign at SXSW for two years running.

WDCEP runs DC’s presence at ICSC RECon, retail’s leading conference which brings together 30,000+ leaders in the industry.

WDCEP regularly convenes public and private DC business leaders across sectors.

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