Catalyzing an Anchored Economy in DC

By Zach Komes |


In this report, Roosevelt’s Emerging Fellow for Economic Development Zach Komes argues that African American–owned businesses located in low-income neighborhoods have yet to experience significant benefits from economic changes that have occurred over the last decade in the District of Columbia. Faced with limited access to contracting opportunities, capital, and technical assistance, Black-owned firms have seen limited revenue growth, which in turn has prevented them from raising wages for employees, many of whom are Black D.C. residents. As the local government puts increased attention on business development in low-income neighborhoods and reducing dependence on federal government contracts, the D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development should create a long-term engagement strategy with “anchor institutions,” or universities and hospitals with a locally focused mission.

Zach is a senior at George Washington University, is the Chapter Head of Roosevelt @ GWU, and is Roosevelt's Emerging Fellow in Economic Development.