(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) launched the application for the $9.5 million Entertainment Bridge Fund Supporting Businesses Program. The Supporting Businesses Program is the second program of the Entertainment Bridge Fund. It will provide grants ranging between $5,000 - $50,000 to businesses that provide services that heavily rely on large gatherings related to entertainment, events, trade shows, and/or tourism and have been indirectly impacted by restrictions mandated due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“We know that the entertainment industry has been among the hardest hit, and the ripple effect of its closure is wide,” said Mayor Bowser. “This additional program from the Entertainment Bridge Fund will help the businesses and entrepreneurs that support and contribute to the lively, unique, and inviting District that we all know and love.”
The Entertainment Bridge Fund is part of The Bridge Fund, a $100 million initiative aimed at providing financial relief to the hotel, restaurant, retail, and entertainment sectors. The $29.5 million Entertainment Bridge Fund consists of two programs, the $20 million Venues Program, which was announced in December 2020 and the $9.5 million Supporting Businesses Program. The Venues Program will provide funding to venues that have either temporarily suspended operations since the public health emergency or have been able to operate at a minimal capacity. The application for the Venues Program will close today, January 11, at 5:00pm.
“Entertainment plays a major role in what makes the District’s a vibrant city,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “This program was created to help support the businesses and individuals who rely on entertainment and large events to operate. As we make strides to open back up safely, we are making it a priority assist and preserve the industries that drive our economy and contribute to what makes the District a world class city.”
Eligible businesses for the Supporting Businesses Program include, Audio & Visual, Event Equipment Rental, Photographer, Event Planners, Trade Show or Event Staffing Services, Event Production Companies, Talent Booking Agency, Tour Companies (bus, boat, walking tours), Performance Art Companies (dance companies, theatre groups), Performing Artists, Event Promoters, and Recreational Sports Leagues. The grant will support general operational expenses (rent/mortgage, payroll, insurance, District taxes and fees, equipment leasing and purchasing, and/or utilities) and COVID-19 related supplies and preparation. Businesses that are permanently closed are ineligible to apply. Award decisions will be based on revenue, operational expenses, number of employees, and other local relief funds received.
DMPED will discuss the Supporting Businesses Program during its Recovery Weekly Check-In on Tuesday, January 12, at 4 pm on Channel 16 (DCN) and streaming on Twitter and Facebook. Prospective applicants are encouraged to attend either of two information sessions scheduled to take place Wednesday, January 13 at 10 am and Thursday, January 14 at 3 pm. The registration link for the information sessions can be found at coronavirus.dc.gov/bridgefund. The application deadline for the Supporting Businesses Program is Friday, January 22, at 5 pm. Questions about the Entertainment Bridge Fund can be emailed to [email protected].
In July 2020, the Council of the District of Columbia passed the “Business Support Grants Emergency Amendment Act of 2020,” which authorized up to $100 million from the federal CARES Act to provide COVID-19 related relief to businesses. In November 2020, Mayor Bowser announced The Bridge Fund to strategically invest in businesses and employees in the hospitality, restaurant, entertainment, and retail sectors to help mitigate the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on workers and businesses. The District has accepted applications for the $30 million Hotel Bridge Fund, the $35 million Restaurant Bridge Fund, and $15 million Retail Bridge Fund.
Since the COVID-19 public health emergency began in March, the District has made available more than $45 million to support small and local businesses and nonprofits through various funding opportunities, including the DC Small Business Microgrant Program, the Ward 7 and 8 Microgrant Program, the Small Business Resiliency Fund, DC Child Care Provider Relief Fund, the Legacy Business Supplemental Microgrant Program, and the Streatery Winter Ready Grant Program (in partnership with Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture). For more information on the Bridge Fund, visit coronavirus.dc.gov/bridgefund.