Equipping Latinos And Other DC And Baltimore Metro Area Residents With Skills And Financial Tools To Create A Better Future For Their Families And Communities

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Monday, 28 August 2017 12:16

LEDC & EWI: A Strategic Alliance

LEDC & EWI: A Strategic Alliance 

We're excited to announce that long-time partners Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) and Empowered Women International (EWI) are merging. With complementary target populations, programs, and services, LEDC and EWI have identified an opportunity to build upon respective successes by joining forces to serve more clients with a broader range of programs and support.Following the merger, EWI will become a program under the LEDC umbrella, maintaining its name and high caliber of client service.

Since 1991, LEDC has offered small business development, microlending, homeownership, and affordable housing preservation programs for low to moderate income Latinos and other underserved communities in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Since 2002, EWI has provided entrepreneurial training, mentoring, and ongoing coaching in the Washington DC area, helping immigrant, refugee and socially and economically challenged women turn their creative or cultural assets, artistic abilities, and skills into successful businesses.

What are the benefits of the merger?

The primary beneficiaries of the merger are the clients that EWI and LEDC serve. They will gain a wider array of services and resources as they work to launch or grow small businesses in the communities we support.

When announcing the merger at EWI's 15th Anniversary celebration last month, LEDC Executive Director Marla Bilonick shared how LEDC's mission of helping individuals build and preserve assets is key to building family wealth and economic stability. EWI's Executive Director, Sarah Bodley added that by combining EWI's entrepreneurial training with LEDC's program pillars, we will have a powerhouse of services to offer residents across the DMV area.

LEDC will gain EWI's unique program that is a woman-focused suite of rooted in entrepreneurial training called Entrepreneur Pathways for Women.  The development of business skills amongst a cohort of women also builds support networks that strengthen the community.  Existing EWI workshops and classes will augment LEDC's current entrepreneurial coaching, training, and lending offerings.

EWI's present clients will be able to seamlessly access LEDC's bilingual one-on-one business coaching and micro-loan financing of up to $50,000 for their business ventures.  As well, EWI will be able to provide their intensive and multi-session training services to LEDC's present customers.

Through this merger, entrepreneurs in the DC Metro region will have access to LEDC and EWI services via physical locations in Washington, D.C.; Montgomery County, Baltimore City, Fairfax County, and Arlington County. By combining forces our physical footprint and community reach expands significantly.

When will the merger happen? 

We are proceeding with the legal and organizational restructuring necessary to effectuate the merger by September 30th, 2017.  During the time leading up to the merger, LEDC and EWI will continue normal programs and services without interruption. We look forward to continuing to deliver even more value to our clients following the merger.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, or for more information, please contact:

Marla Bilonick

Executive Director of LEDC
641 S St. NW, Washington DC 20001


Sarah Bodley

Executive Director of EWI

320 S. Henry St, Alexandria VA 22314


Published in Press Releases
Monday, 07 August 2017 12:12

Small Business Loans

Attention Washington, D.C. Entrepreneurs: Do you need help with your small business? Whether you need business advice or help financing, LEDC is here to help! Apply now and see if you qualify for our small business loans.



Join LEDC and the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GWHCC) for a bilingual summer networking event! You will receive key tips to network and sell your business, gain insight from a panel of business owners and connect with one another for opportunities to collaborate and grow the small business community in DC. 


LEDC is proud to be working closely with the businesses within the Wheaton Triangle, in partnership with Montgomery County. By providing them with professional consulting services, up-to-date information from the County, and assistance in preparing their applications for County support; we are helping to position Wheaton businesses to succeed through the construction period and beyond! Wheaton businesses have so much to offer Montgomery County residents. We encourage you to patronize Wheaton's business district and uncover a world of opportunity in your own backyard. 

Please see a press release from Montgomery County discussing the Wheaton Redevelopment. 

Downtown Wheaton businesses will be helped by innovative Montgomery County program during construction of new County office building and town plaza
More than 90 businesses in area continue to operate during three-year construction project

More than 90 businesses in Wheaton that may be impacted by the construction of a new 14-story Montgomery County office building and an adjacent town plaza will have an opportunity to receive an innovative form of help from the County to stabilize their businesses during the three-year construction period.
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and the Montgomery County Council have joined together to create a Small Business Assistance Program to provide technical and financial assistance to qualified Downtown Wheaton businesses who can demonstrate an adverse financial impact since construction began in June on the “Wheaton Town Plaza” project. The unique aspect of the County program will be that businesses owners will be eligible for financial assistance—up to a maximum of $75,000 over the construction period—for documented declines attributable to the project.

Businesses can apply for assistance to the County’s Department of Finance, which will oversee the program, starting Sept. 5. Applications will soon be available through the department’s web site at

The first of quarterly reimbursements could be made to business owners within weeks of applications being filed and reviewed.

The new 308,000 square-foot, LEED gold certified Wheaton Town Plaza office building will be the relocated home of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which has long been located in Downtown Silver Spring. It also will house several County departments and will have retail operations on its ground floor.  The building is being constructed on the former Parking Lot 13 site that is located between Grandview Avenue, Reedie Drive and Triangle Lane—an area between Veirs Mill Road and Georgia Avenue.

The project is being led by the County’s Department of Transportation, which owns the site. It will include approximately 397 parking spaces in a four-level underground garage—more spaces than were available in surface lot being replaced by the new office building. Adjacent from the office building, a new 20,000 square-foot entertainment plaza will be constructed on the current site of the Mid-County Regional Services Center. The regional services center offices will be among those eventually relocated to the new office building.

“The purpose of this project is to be the starting point of refurbishing Downtown Wheaton and creating a new downtown that is vibrant day and night,” said County Executive Leggett. “Big plans sometimes have growing pains, and to ease the pain of the existing small businesses that we want to be part of the revitalized Wheaton, we have created this innovative program. Before this project began, we promised these businesses that have been the fabric of Downtown Wheaton that we would provide help to them, and through this program, we are doing just that in a way rarely found in any development project in the nation.”

The County Council previously enacted Bill 6-12 that created the Small Business Assistance Program. During its Fiscal Year 2018 operating budget discussions, the Council provided $200,000 in seed money for the program to assist the Wheaton businesses surrounding the construction site, many of which are single-proprietor operations and have Latino ownership.

“Small businesses are vital to our community and protecting them is a top priority,” said County Councilmember Nancy Navarro, who represents Council District 4 that includes Downtown Wheaton. “This is why I felt it was necessary to sponsor Bill 6-12 to create the Small Business Assistance Program that will provide technical and financial assistance to eligible small businesses—with the goal of offsetting any adverse impacts to them during the redevelopment of Lot 13.

“These are businesses that have served this community in so many ways for a very long time, so now they need our support to ensure that they get through the construction phase of this revitalization project.”

To qualify for assistance, businesses must complete the application that is available from the County Department of Finance. Businesses also must provide three years of tax returns to establish an average financial baseline that can be evaluated against claims for lost revenue since the project’s formal start.

In addition to financial assistance, the Small Business Assistance Program will offer technical assistance to the impacted businesses. That assistance, which could provide long-term plans to help businesses well-beyond the construction period, will include updated marketing and business plans consistent with the changes brought during construction. The Latino Economic Development Center, the Maryland Small Business Development Center, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County and the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are working to provide the technical and marketing assistance to the businesses.

More information about the plan to revitalize Downtown Wheaton can be found at

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Media contact:  Patrick Lacefield, 240-777-6528 

Neil H. Greenberger, 240-777-6512 or 301-455-2348 

Published in Press Releases