Office of the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity

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Highlighted Programs in the DMGEO Cluster

  • Project 500
  • The Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program
  • Aspire to Entrepreneurship

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.

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

Our goals are to:

  • Provide entrepreneurs with training and support, with a laser focus on business and financial capacity
  • Work with local city officials and agency leaders to eradicate policy barriers that exacerbate the gap between start up and growth stages; a place where many businesses cease to exist
  • Convene local bankers and investors to develop new capital products to meet the needs of our participants

Project 500 is a partnership that was launched in April 2016 between the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity (DMGEO) and Melissa L. Bradley of the Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI) at Georgetown University McDonough Business School. Since inception the program has completed one cohort, initiated cohort 2 and on boarded over 300 participants.

Summer Youth Employment ProgramA Fresh Start for the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program

The Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP) is a locally funded initiative sponsored by the Department of Employment Services (DOES) that provides District youth ages 14 to 24 with enriching and constructive summer work experiences through subsidized placements in the private and government sectors. Mayor Bowser signed the Mayor's Order 2015-037 on January 14, 2015 to rename the program the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program in honor of former Mayor and SYEP founder Marion Barry.

Through MBSYEP, we strive to provide young people with the opportunity to:

  • Earn money and gain meaningful work experience;
  • Learn and develop the skills, attitudes, and commitment necessary to succeed in today’s world of work;
  • Gain exposure to various exciting career industries; and,
  • Interact with dynamic working professionals in a positive work environment.

MBSYEP 2017 will begin on Monday, June 26, 2017 and will end on Friday, August 4, 2017.

For additional information about SYEP, please visit or email [email protected]. For all press inquiries regarding SYEP, email [email protected]

Supporting Returning Citizen Entrepreneurs

The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity and the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) recently announced the Aspire to Entrepreneurship Pilot Program to support justice-involved DC residents who have an interest in appropriate entrepreneurship.  

DSLBD supports aspiring and existing entrepreneurs into the creation and retention of local businesses. The justice-involved population in the District faces unique barriers to entry. The purpose of this partnership is to deliver the Aspire to Entrepreneurship Pilot to up to 25 justice-involved individuals with a conviction for a misdemeanor or felony as an adult. The Pilot is intended to operate for approximately one year, with a training phase and a business phase. DSBLD in partnership with relevant government agencies and the existing community of support will follow this path towards programming.

Partnering agencies and organizations collaborating to make this effort possible include: the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES), Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia (CSOSA), Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB) and the District of Columbia Office of Returning Citizens Affairs (MORCA).