There are many resources that entrepreneurs and business owners in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia to help and support entrepreneurs and business owners. While we do have events and a directory with local businesses, the DMV is a special place so we decided to create a unique list.
For all aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners, who are looking for additional resources on how to grow their ventures and entrepreneurial networks, please review the following list:
Chambers of Commerce
- Northern Virginia Chamber – The Northern Virginia Chamber is the largest Chamber of Commerce in Northern Virginia representing nearly 700 companies and 500,000 jobs throughout the region.
- Alexandria Chamber – monthly breakfasts, after-hours network mixers, and (free) brown bag/roundtable luncheons sponsored by the Alexandria Small Development Center
- Arlington Chamber – monthly breakfasts, evening network mixers, and (free) brown bag/roundtable luncheons& small business roundtable
- Central Fairfax Chamber – monthly evening network mixers; some breakfast and luncheon sessions
- DC Chamber – monthly evening network mixers, periodic educational presentations, plus bi-weekly “Leadshare” sessions for exchanging referrals, with a focus on economic development, tourism, and advocacy
- Dulles Regional Chamber – monthly networking breakfasts, evening network mixers, and (free) brown bag/roundtable luncheon workshops
- Greater McLean Chamber – monthly luncheon and evening network mixers
- Greater Springfield Chamber – monthly networking breakfasts, evening network mixers, and (free) brown bag/roundtable luncheon workshops
- Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber – monthly networking breakfasts and luncheon seminars
- Prince William Chamber – monthly networking breakfasts, luncheon roundtables, and after-hours networking mixers
- Reston Chamber – monthly luncheon and evening network mixers, lead shares
- Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce – They exist to fill the needs of small-medium sized businesses in the Tysons region who are looking to make a difference within their community and develop their reputations through self-promotion and networking.
- South Fairfax Chamber, www.southfairfaxchamber.org – meetings 3-4 times a year
- Prince William Chamber of Commerce – after-hours mixer, networking events
- Greater Washington Board of Trade – a Chamber-like regional organization holding non-routinely scheduled events, including the resources of its Small Business Network division
- Maryland Chamber of Commerce–events, start-up in Maryland, after-hours networking mixers
- Anne Arundel County Chamber – networking breakfasts
- Loudoun Chamber–leadshare, after-hours mixers, workshops, networking events
- Chamber Frederick – leadership program, young professionals events, networking events
- Rockville Chamber – networking, roundtable, mastermind
- Calvert Chamber – after-hours mixers, young professionals, after-hour mixers, workshops
- Howard County Chamber – training, workshops, networking, after-hour mixers, lunches, breakfasts
- Greater Bowie Chamber – breakfast mixer, special events
- Prince George’s Chamber–committee meetings, forum
- Charles County Chamber of Commerce – mixer, breakfast mixer
- Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce – special events, monthly networking, lunch & learns
Chambers for Affinity Groups
- Northern Virginia Black Chamber – events, mixers, expo (Check out their DMV CEO Post)
- Asian American Chamber – mixers, referral groups, networking events
- Virginia Hispanic Chamber– conference, gala, clinics (Check out their DMV CEO Post)
- Maryland Black Chamber – lunch and dinner networking, workshops, fairs
Local Business Groups & Organizations
- Alexandria Region – each group serves as a hyper-local chamber of commerce and is comprised of businesses located in the same general geographic area, often represented by a number of retailers, which meets periodically for presentations, networking, and to address issues affecting their members. Among them are the West End Business Association, Eisenhower Partnership, Del Ray Business Association, and the Old Town Business & Professional Association.
- Rosslyn BID – The Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) is a designated 17-block mixed-use, an urban center in the heart of Rosslyn. Funded by a special tax paid by property owners within the BID boundaries, the Rosslyn BID provides services to enhance, grow and maintain the neighborhood through a public/private partnership with Arlington County.
- Crystal City BID – The Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) is a public-private partnership established in April 2006 to promote the vibrant Crystal City business, retail, restaurant and residential community. The BID is committed to showcasing the area as a world-class destination for visitors, employees and residents.(Check out their DMV CEO Post)
- BizLaunch of Arlington Economic Development is Arlington’s small business and entrepreneurial assistance network, and your one-stop-shop for everything you’ll need to know about starting or growing a business in Arlington. BizLaunch partners with a wide variety of small business organizations to provide you with information on writing a business plan, taxes, permits, licensing, marketing, financing and just about anything else you’ll need to know to start or grow your business in Arlington. Additionally, the BizLaunch center offers information, counseling and research opportunities, all free of charge.
- Entrepreneurs’ Organization – The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a global business network of 9,500+ business owners in 131 chapters and 40 countries. Founded in 1987 by a group of young entrepreneurs, EO enables small and large business owners to learn from each other, leading to greater business success and an enriched personal life.
- The International Entrepreneurs (TiE) – The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), was founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley by a group of successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals with roots in the Indus region.
- MIT Enterprise Forum: The local chapter is one of a network of over 28 worldwide chapters of the Enterprise Forum, which was created as an outreach educational program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). Its many programs are targeted to local start-ups, high technology businesses and investors. The programs are designed to enable tech entrepreneurs to be successful by providing practical programming designed to educate and help them connect to mentors and experts.
Non-profit and Government Resources
- Department of Employment Services (DOES): Empowering and sustaining a diverse workforce, which enables all sectors of the community to achieve economic and social stability.
- Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs: Supports a thriving community of residents, businesses, & visitors through diligent protection of health & safety & equitable admin of regulation & compliance
- Office of Contracting and Procurement: Our mission is to partner with District vendors & agencies to purchase quality goods & services in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost.
- Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) (Washington DC): Through a unique combination of high-impact student programs and exceptional teacher training and support, NFTE’s Baltimore / Washington Metro office provides schools and partners in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC the opportunity to change young lives through entrepreneurship.
- Washington, DC Economic Partnership: The Washington DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP) is a non-profit, public-private organization that drives inclusive economic growth and job creation, supports business and promotes Washington, DC as a leading global city.
- Historically Underutilized Business Zone – The HUBZone Empowerment Contracting program provides federal contracting opportunities for qualified small businesses located in distressed areas.
Quasi-Government Sponsored Organizations
- Small Business Development Centers
- Alexandria Small Business Development Center– 2-3 monthly educational sessions per month on topics relevant to small businesses, focusing on those in Alexandria
- George Mason University – Small Business Development Center– located at 4031 University Drive Suite 200 Fairfax, VA 22030-3409. Phone: 703-277-7727
- DC SBDC – The District of Columbia SBDC network is the only Districtwide, nationally accredited program that provides high-quality one-on-one consulting, training and information resources to empower new and existing businesses.
- Maryland SBDC – The Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network is dedicated to helping you start and grow your business. We provide training, confidential consulting and market and industry research to help aspire and existing small businesses make sound decisions for successful operations.
- Small Business Administration – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.
- SCORE – SCORE is the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, with more than 10,000 volunteers in 300 chapters.
Economic Development Organizations
- Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation – 9 monthly panel presentations on business growth topics on the 1st Thursday.
- Fairfax County Economic Development Authority – business growth workshops every 1-2 months
- Washington DC Economic Development Partnership – business management and growth panel presentations on the 2nd Wednesday
Independent Networking Groups
- Old Town Alexandria Connections – upper echelon small businesses and organizations as eager to grow their business as they are to share tips, leads, and referrals with other OTAC Members Meetings are held between 12:00 and 1:30 on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month
- Washington Network Group – an organization of business, finance, technology, foreign and government affairs professionals holding special networking events, innovative educational forums, and professional development opportunities
- Northern Virginia Business Referrals – weekly breakfast meetings of Northern Virginia small businesses
For Technology Organizations
- Northern Virginia Technology Council – the region’s premier networking and educational organization, holding a variety of breakfast, luncheon, and evening events for a wide range of technology firms
- Technology Council of Maryland – non-routinely scheduled educational events for District of Columbia and Maryland technology firms
- MIT Enterprise Forum –The local chapter is one of a network of over 28 worldwide chapters of the Enterprise Forum, which was created as an outreach educational program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). Its many programs are targeted to local start-ups, high technology businesses and investors. The programs are designed to enable tech entrepreneurs to be successful by providing practical programming designed to educate and help them connect to mentors and experts.
- TIE-DC – The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), was founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley by a group of successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals with roots in the Indus region. For entrepreneurs of all types, with a lot of IT, having 53 chapters in 12 countries, including this C.C. chapter
- The Hub – for telecom and related industries.
- Entrepreneur’s Organization – Washington DC – Founded in 1991, EO is the premier, peer-to-peer, global community, network and resource for entrepreneurs.
- Beacon – BEACON is a community-led campaign to make Washington DC the most influential and supportive city for women entrepreneurs in the United States.
Women’s Networking Groups
NOTE: Although created for women professionals, many women’s networking groups accept men
- eWomen Network (Tysons Corner Chapter / Northern Virginia Chapter / Leesburg Loudon County / Washington DC / Annapolis / Montgomery County) – monthly breakfasts, periodic educational activities, and an annual convention for women entrepreneurs
- Women Building & Investing in Success – Sheila Dixon, Founder, 703-327-7624 – this is a fairly new group created for women business owners and a mentoring and educational resource.
- Women in Technology – monthly lunch forums, evening network mixers, and ongoing educational events for women technology professionals
- Women’s Business Center (under the umbrella of the Community Business Partnership) – monthly breakfast educational presentations (First Friday of the month), plus a variety of structured training classes and resources for business startups
- SheCapitol – SheCapitol facilitates monthly events that bring women entrepreneurs together to share and discuss ideas, brainstorm and support each other along our journey to success.
- Beacon – BEACON is a community-led campaign to make Washington DC the most influential and supportive city for women entrepreneurs in the United States.
- Awesome Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) – Awesome Women Entrepreneurs – AWE is a diverse group of talented, energetic and caring women who cheer each other on. What makes us unique is our mission to inspire, connect and collaborate with women business owners in our local community — and have some laughs too!
- Path Forward – The nonprofit Path Forward Center is a catalyst for economic change by activating women to build their Business Beyond OneTM
- The Alexandria Brown Bag – associated with A.S.A.E., this group arranges for speakers on topics of interest to associations/nonprofits during its free “bring-your-own” monthly luncheon meetings, on the third Thursday, between 12:00 and 1:30 in Old Town Alexandria. Receiving invitations and making reservations can be done through its LinkedIn Group, or by contacting its coordinator, Talisa Thomas-Hall at talisathomashall@theCEOnet.com or 703-981-1143. The meetings also are posted for registration on S.A.E.’s Website.
- Ashoka Youth Venture – Youth Venture inspires and supports teams of young people to launch and lead their own “Ventures” – community-benefiting initiatives, clubs, organizations and businesses. Teams access workshops, adult allies (non-controlling adult team advisors), a global network of like-minded young changemakers, and fundraising tools to establish their ventures that solve problems around them.
Franchised Networking Groups
NOTE: These groups operate under a franchise or franchise-like arrangement, with a central headquarters and separate chapters with their members
- BNI (Business Networking International) – thousands of chapters world-wide and numerous in Northern Virginia, holding weekly meetings
- Network Referral Group (NRG) – about 50 chapters in the region meeting at least monthly
- The American Small Business Coalition a membership organization offering networking and educational events for both federal governmental contractors and federal agencies.
- SECAF (Small and Emerging Contractors’ Advisory Forum)– SECAF provides an environment for small/emerging governmental contractors to learn, network, and be an integral part of the contracting landscape, through (usually monthly) educational programs that incorporate successful business practices, business growth, contract partnering, recruitment and retention, and program development.
- Quantico-Belvoir Regional Business Alliance – the mission of the Quantico/Belvoir Regional Business Alliance mission is to position the region as a welcoming and supportive community to the military and their business partners, in order to facilitate positive outcomes from growth, both within and outside the MCB Quantico and Fort Belvoir and to convey information on BRAC and other DOD-related growth opportunities. In doing so, Alliance identifies and communicates DOD-related business opportunities, through partnerships, advocacy, training, networking, and community outreach.
- NeXco – neXco is a multi-faceted networking organization that provides multiple platforms to help you grow your business. At our core are our lead share groups, which meet twice monthly and include one seat per profession.
- Northern VA Business Roundtable – To give true value to each member via weekly networking luncheon, strategy sessions, on going training, create thought provoking brainstorming, idea sharing, problem solving, business development with the Masterminds of other business professionals who help with accountability and Team building.
- Freedom Networking Group–networking centered around passing referrals. (Check out their DMV CEO Post)
- NOVA Networking – A professional group focused on growing business by passing referrals and networking.
- ALL IN Reliable Referral Team: Building Business With Confidence, Networking As It Should Be – Thursday’s 8:15 AM -10:00 AM
- Golden Geese Business Referral Network: Since 2003, Golden Geese has been a dynamic, successful and friendly Northern Virginia Networking Group with over $3 million in referrals passed for its members.
For Veteran-owned Businesses
- Capitol Post/The Bunker@DC – several business management workshops each month attended by (mostly) veteran and non-veteran business leaders
- DCORP (Objective Rally Point) – monthly workshops designed to support Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses
- I am CEO – Our meetup! Powered by CBNation & Blue 16 Media, workshops, networking mixers and more for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners.
- DC Tech Meetup – The DC Tech meetup brings together, technologists, entrepreneurs, investors and other innovators to “learn and share.” Each month over 800 innovators gather to see demos, product launches and meet potential co-founders, partners and funders.
- DC Lean Startup Circle – Based on the Lean Startup methodology coined by Eric Ries, the DC Lean Startup Circle description explains the group is “not a general entrepreneurship, networking or professional meetup group.”
- DC Nightowls – An after hours community of “self-starters” that are looking to take ideas and make them happen.
- Tech Breakfast – This monthly breakfast in Baltimore, Columbia, DC and NoVA where entrepreneurs, techies, developers, designers, business people and others congregate to see new technology and interact. Each TechBreakfast starts at 8:00 AM and goes until 10:00AM. It’s also free.
- DC-MD Small Business Owner Networking – DC-MD Small Business Owner Networking offers business related networking meetings and workshops for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners throughout the DC & Baltimore Metropolitan areas (DC, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel County & Baltimore).
- DC Young Entrepreneurs – DCYE is a networking and educational organization for young entrepreneurs located in DC. The Meetup has events such as Fireside Chats, happy hours, Business Book Clubs and co-working sessions.
- Productcamp – ProductCamp DC is a series of community organized gatherings focused on product related topics. Professionals interested in designing, building, launching and marketing great products gather to learn from one another and share their experiences.
- Tech in Motion – Tech in Motion is broad by design, the goal of this group is to be interactive and allow technology enthusiasts to learn from other professionals, have questions answered in real-time, discover new tech, and hear stories that inspire. This group is a place for technology professionals who wouldn’t usually cross paths to meet, collaborate, and learn about what their peers are doing across the city.
- Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers, D.C., Networking – Please come and team up with other changemakers and social entrepreneurs looking for partners! It will be fun and stimulating!
- Startup Grind – Startup Grind is an event series and website designed to help educate, inspire, and connect local entrepreneurs. Each month we welcome a fantastic speaker who shares their story with our community and tells us what worked, what didn’t, and what they’ll do differently next time. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn from the best, network with other members of the startup community, and improve your chances of entrepreneurial success.
- Women Coach and Consultant Business Owners Mastermind – This group is for women-owned small businesses that provide coaching and consulting services. The group meets at least once a month in Arlington or Alexandria.
- Loudoun Tech Startups is the local group for the emerging and growing Loudoun Tech community to relax, network and learn together. Come out monthly to meet your tech-minded peers, discuss what you’re working on, learn from a trending speaker and maybe even find your next opportunity.
- 1 Million Cups (Prince William County / Loudoun County / Fairfax County– not a Meetup) – Based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee, the Kauffman Foundation developed 1 Million Cups – a free program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs with their communities.
- 1776: 1776 is the largest network of incubators that cultivates and empowers startup ecosystems in the Northeast Corridor. We exist to strengthen the cities and economies by building a thriving community of entrepreneurs.
- Community Business Partnership: Community Business Partnership (CBP) provides education, technical assistance, business incubation services, access to capital and networking opportunities.
- The Flory Small Business Center, Inc – The Flory Center, Inc. a non-profit, tax-exempt organization was established in 1991 to assist existing small businesses and start-up entrepreneurs access capital for expansion, increase sales, and create and retain jobs.
- George Mason University – Small Business Development Center– Mason SBDC provides counseling services at no cost to small business owners in the Northern Virginia area. Located at 4031 University Drive Suite 200 Fairfax, VA 22030-3409. Phone: 703-277-7727
- Startups Ignite – Fostering, enabling, and growing a community focused on helping startups grow.
Ideas, Partnerships, and Funding
- Amplifier Ventures: Established in 2004, Amplifier Ventures is the trademark for a group of related technology innovation consulting and investment management businesses that collectively operate at the cross section of entrepreneurship, technology, innovation and policy in the Greater Washington Region. Amplifier Ventures has helped establish 16 technology businesses in a broad range of industries, and has provided innovation consulting services to federal and state government agencies, universities, not for profit companies and for profit businesses. Amplifier Ventures is led by Jonathan Aberman, a highly connected and nationally-recognized authority on innovation and venture capital.
- TEDCO is an independent organization that strives to be Maryland’s lead source for entrepreneurial business assistance and seed funding for the development of startup companies in Maryland’s innovation economy.
- Y Combinator: Y Combinator provides seed funding for startups. Seed funding is the earliest stage of venture funding. It pays your expenses while you’re getting started.
- I AM CEO – Our Facebook Group! Powered by CBNation & Blue 16 Media, workshops, networking mixers and more for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners.
- DMV Deal Makers – Where real estate dealmakers in the DC metro area come together
- Northern Virginia Events & Vendor Directory – A listing of all upcoming events & vendor opportunities. Feel free to list any future events or vendor opportunities that are in the Northern Virginia area.
- NoVA Business Referral Roundtable – This is a group for northern Virginia and DC metro area professionals to network, share referrals and does business with some of the Best of the Best entrepreneurs, business owners, and sales reps.
- DC Social Media – A space for connecting, communicating, and collaborating with social media enthusiasts and professionals in Washington DC and local surrounding areas.
- DC Tech – This is from DC Tech. Meaning that the content and conversations should be related to the greater DC Metro region and have a focus on technology or technology-enabled businesses.
- Gainesville Encouraging Networkers (Winchester Chapter)– Welcome to Gainesville Encouraging Networkers, a business networking group built on covenant relationships in the Virginia/ Washington DC Area. We focus on helping each other network and grow our business through monthly luncheons and business spotlight. (Check out their DMV CEO Post)
- Freelance DC – Freelance DC is a great place to connect with other independent types — freelancers and consultants.
- DMV CEO – DMV CEO is a niche blog that captures the essence of entrepreneurship in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. DMV CEO is a member of CEO Blog Nation.
- Business One Stop is a step-by-step guide from Virginia.gov that provides a step-by-step guide including considering starting a business, starting a business, running a business and expanding a business.
- Doing Business in Fairfax County
Technology Startup Resources
- Center for Innovative Technology: CIT seeks to close innovation gaps in the Commonwealth and the nation by focusing on new technologies, entrepreneurs and technology companies that make innovation happen.
- Maryland Industrial Partnerships: Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) promotes the development and commercialization of products and processes through industry/university research partnerships. MIPS provides matching funds to help Maryland companies pay for the university research. Projects are initiated by the companies to meet their own research and development goals.
- Maryland Technology Development Corporation (MDTEDCO): TEDCO is an independent organization that strives to be Maryland’s lead source for entrepreneurial business assistance and seed funding for the development of startup companies in Maryland’s innovation economy.
- The Entrepreneur Center (NVTC): NVTC offers resources for technology-focused startups and entrepreneurs at every stage of their lifecycle.
- Potomac Tech Wire: Potomac Tech Wire is an independent news organization that covers technology stories in the greater Washington D.C. region in an objective and independent manner.
- Tech Bisnow: Bisnow is a digital media company that publishes daily e-newsletters and produces events focused on local business trends, personalities, and happenings.
- Entrepreneurial Development & Assistance Center @ Morgan State University (EDAC) exists to connect budding & existing entrepreneurs to resources for venture management & growth.