What is Project 500?

Project 500 is a DC based training program to help historically marginalized businesses scale in terms of revenue, staff and investment retained. Our goal is to recruit and retain up to 500 businesses to receive hands on training, capacity building, mentoring and networking to advance the economic success of their businesses and their communities.

How much does Project 500 cost?

The program is free of charge and open to any DC based business, with preference for entrepreneurs located in wards 7 and 8.

Where is Project 500 located?

Project 500 operates throughout the District. We host events throughout the city at varied locations. Our training sessions and networking events take place primarily at the office of the DMGEO, located at 2235 Shannon Place, SE.

Who runs the program?

The program is run by Melissa L. Bradley. Melissa is a Professor of Practice at Georgetown University, Founder and Managing Director of Sidecar Social Finance and Chief Curator for Venture DC. She is a serial entrepreneur, prior venture capitalist and investor, as well as former political appointee for Presidents Clinton and Obama.

Should I be a part of Project 500?

Project 500 is open to any business owner in DC. Our preference is for entrepreneurs who are interesting in growing their business.

The program is self-directed and you can access as little or as much support as you like – from a weekly newsletter, to regular workshops to mentoring and meetings with investors.

Who are the instructors?

All the instructors and leaders are volunteers who come with extensive business and entrepreneurship experience. All instructors are interviewed and briefed in advance and are chosen based on their depth of experience and past entrepreneurial experience.

Does Project 500 work?

Based on our first cohort, the program is working. Out of our fist cohort of 100, we successfully advanced 86 participants of whom 39% reported increased profitability, 12% reported new employees hired and new capital raised more than $160,000.