D.C. Investor Launches Project 500 to Help Entrepreneurs Scale their Companies

Having a heart for minorities and tech entrepreneurs, venture capitalist, serial entrepreneur and professor Melissa L. Bradley of Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, recently launched Project 500, a business-development program that is helping D.C. businesses scale in terms of revenue, staff, and investment retained.


Professor Melissa L. Bradley of Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, who leads Project 500, greets graduates and their guests. (Image: Project 500TM)


The Ascend 2020 D.C. Cohort is part of a six-city initiative to help more minority businesses gain access to funding. The inaugural class just completed the program, graduating 10 businesses this past Saturday.

The class consisted of high growth African American entrepreneurs ranging from health tech to media/communications firms. Entry into the program was extremely competitive and the entrepreneurs were picked based on the belief that their businesses will scale within the next 12 to 24 months.

The businesses in the graduating cohort included:

MitchRich Communications


A public relations firm that helps social change organizations engage with audiences, elevate their issues, and multiply their impact.

Water and Power Works


A woman-owned, minority company that is focused on the site utility as its niche in the construction business.

Innovators Box


An education firm that empowers professionals by helping them unlock their creative strengths and fostering innovative thinking.

JDos International Inc.


A program/project/construction management firm that provides engineering and engineering support services on infrastructure projects in transportation, water/wastewater, and buildings.

Nubian Hueman


A platform featuring cultural goods reflecting the African diaspora.

American Management Corp.


A company that specializes in the design and implementation of measurable plans that point-by-point, identify, define, target, and fulfill the needs of profit, nonprofit, and government entities.



A company that provides project-specific solutions to client requirements in, but not limited to, the following areas: construction management; design/build services; green construction technologies; building restoration; and fit-outs.

Promoting Practical Health Inc.


A health education and health literacy company.

Earth Worth


A company that provides environmentally friendly facility maintenance and electrical services to customers in the federal, state & local government, as well as the private and industrial sector.

Federal Contractors Inc.


A small, woman-owned construction firm located in Washington, D.C. specializing in architectural, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical work.

Washington Area Network Services L.L.C.


A technology solutions provider that has been in business specializing in cloud, Office 365 and SharePoint migrations along with the use of big data and business analytical tools, to assist small and medium-sized businesses, nonprofit organizations, federal and District of Columbia government agencies.

Professor Melissa L. Bradley of Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, who leads Project 500, and this year’s graduates of the program. (Image:  Project 500TM)


Cohort Takeaways


Project 500™ provided each entrepreneur with a professional services support team, comprised of legal, tax, accounting, and tech help. This support allowed entrepreneurs to focus on growing their businesses while not having to pay expensive fees for services, thus reducing opportunity costs.

Second, the entrepreneurs noted an increase in confidence. They also gained a new focus on thinking big. The trainers and their colleagues provided invaluable insight and encouragement throughout the duration of the program that encouraged them to stop thinking small.

Finally, the program provided knowledge and training to expand their current products/services and markets. They provided connections to partners in new cities, access to new technologies via federal tech transfer programs, and expansion to potential customer targets in order to achieve scalability.

Click Project 500™ for more information on how to get involved.