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Connect, Engage & BUILD! Initiative

Connect, Engage and BUILD!

Throughout the Fiscal Year 2014, the Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (OAPIA) will work on programs under “Connect, Engage and BUILD!” (CEB).  CEB is an initiative to CONNECT AAPI retail businesses to District government resources and neighbors so that businesses can ENGAGE with the District and community to help BUILD and diversify the District economy. Below are some examples of the programs under CEB.

Project BUILD

Project BUILD is designed to help improve existing small retail businesses in the District by connecting them with Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduate students. Registered businesses will work with selected businesses for 5 weeks to provide them with business technical assistance such as developing a personalized business plan, applying for funding opportunities, and improving their marketing and promotion strategy.

Right Choice Awareness Campaign

The “Right Choice” Awareness Campaign is a campaign to raise public awareness on the harmful effects of synthetic narcotics and to educate youth and the community on its detrimental effects.  Retail businesses from all eight wards of the District are invited to sign a pledge to not sell synthetic narcotics and other drug paraphernalia. Each pledger receives a sign that they can display in their windows showing their support for the campaign and for a healthy community.

Great Streets

Great Streets is a multi-year and multiple agency effort to transform under-invested corridors into thriving and inviting neighborhood centers. Selected retail businesses can receive funding up to $85,000 to improve their existing infrastructure. 


The Office of the Clean City’s (OCC) “Adopt-A-Block” is a program where a business or group adopts a minimum of two square blocks of an area and agrees to be in charge for two years of maintaining its cleanliness. Groups that adopt a block receive a signage with their names showing they support the community. They also receive free loaner tools (i.e. brooms, shovel, bags, and gloves) needed to help them organize cleaning activities with their neighbors.

Store Façade Improvement

Store Façade Improvement enhances the image and overall economic viability of neighborhood business districts by improving the function and appearance of individual building facades. Qualified businesses and/or commercial property owners within the targeted area can receive matching grants for general repairs/maintenance and for the installation of doors, windows, signs, storefront systems, awnings, and lighting through their community-based non-profit organizations. The non-profit organization provides the business and/or property owners with professional design and construction services throughout the storefront renovation.

Certified Business Enterprise Program

A Certified Business Enterprise is a business certified by the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) that receives preferred procurement and contracting opportunities with the District government. Under this program, the DC government directs spending to these businesses, which in turn support and contribute to job creation and the city tax base, strengthening the local economy.

To sign up to participate in any of the programs or for more information, please contact the Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs at (202) 727-3120 or oapia@dc.gov.

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