Fairfax Founders Fund Will Support Innovative and Disruptive Product-Focused Technology Companies
Entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses have a new funding option at their disposal. Fairfax County announced the Fairfax Founders Fund (FFF), a grant and technical assistance program providing funds to early-stage Fairfax County-based startups, will begin accepting applications on April 10. FFF will provide up to $50,000 in capital to help start-ups develop their business and prepare for later-stage investment. It is designed for early stage, high-growth trajectory companies seeking investment to develop. Goals of Founders Fund include expanding competitive technology clusters in Fairfax County and growing innovation-based businesses and jobs.
The county will allocate $1,000,000 from its Economic Opportunity Reserve Fund to capitalize the program. Applications for the first cohort will be accepted from April 10 through May 22. The program will seek companies who can demonstrate their company has innovative technology, a path to commercialization, a clear market opportunity, and development milestones. Recipients will be able to use the resources for prototype or product development, market research, customer acquisition, technology validation, legal costs and/or other approved areas. Importantly, Fairfax County will not take any equity in the companies supported through the fund. Applicants must provide a 50% match, which can be in capital or “sweat equity” and provide progress reports over a 5-year timeframe.
Fairfax County will conduct a broad marketing campaign with a focus on encouraging diverse and disadvantaged groups to apply including women, people of color, people with disabilities, and veterans who are traditionally underrepresented in tech product start-ups. Through Founders Fund the county hopes to foster economic mobility among founders of all backgrounds.
Fairfax County is home to 8,800 large and small IT companies in a diversity of sector specializations. Businesses and research teams in Fairfax County are defining the cutting edge. From cloud computing and software development to artificial intelligence and data analytics, the “Silicon Valley of the East” continues to grow with more than 1 in 4 jobs being technology related.
More information and applications can be found on the Fairfax County website at fairfaxcounty.gov search Founders Fund.
Fairfax County has instituted multiple initiatives to help businesses grow and recover. Programs including the Microloan Program, RISE Small Business Grant Program, PIVOT Recovery Grant Program and the Economic Recovery Framework, all spearheaded by the county’s Department of Economic Initiatives, have been foundational building blocks for the county’s economic recovery. Since 2020 the county has targeted more than $70 million in funding for community business support.
By the numbers – small business support snapshot:
Total $70.4 million
The Fairfax County Department of Economic Initiatives (DEI) leads programs and initiatives to foster economic development and position Fairfax County to be an economically competitive and prosperous community for all. DEI delivers innovative solutions to cultivate a diverse and thriving local business base, facilitate development through public-private partnerships that address strategic priorities, and foster an entrepreneurial and innovative ecosystem within the County and the region, building on competitive economic strengths.