Fairfax Founders Fund: Supporting Innovation and Growth in Fairfax County

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The County Conversation - Fairfax Founders Fund


On the April 19 episode of the “County Conversation” podcast, Eta Nahapetian, manager for Smart Community Innovation and Strategy with the Department of Economic Initiatives, discusses the new Fairfax Founders Fund.

The Fairfax Founders Fund is a grant and technical assistance program for businesses targeting underrepresented founders. The program aims to diversify the economy and increase tax revenues for the county, ultimately creating new jobs. Eta outlines eligibility criteria, measures of success, and specifics about the application and reporting process.


Fairfax Founders Fund aims to level the playing field for underrepresented founders and diversify the county’s economy. 

The fund's uses are broad, with a focus on flexibility to meet company needs. The program aims to increase tax revenues and broaden the types of companies in the area. 

Companies are expected to stay in the county for two years, and if they leave, a prorated amount will be requested. Founders Fund progress will be assessed for five years, including a reporting period during the grant period. Measures of success include increased sales and revenue, leveraging the money for other investments, creating new products, further developing intellectual property, and expanding their footprint.

Grant applications are due by 5 p.m. on May 22, 2023.

"We're really trying to get some of those ideas that perhaps would never see the light of day without this money. The really important thing to point out is that the money, it can't just be that I just want to keep my company going for another six months. It has to be a very specific milestone." -Eta Nahapetian, Department of Economic Initiatives

Learn more about the Fairfax Founders Fund.

Questions? Email FairfaxFoundersFund@fairfaxcounty.gov.

The Department of Economic Initiatives also recently held a Fairfax Founders Fund Applicant webinar. Watch it on YouTube.



The Department of Economic Initiatives leverages county resources and develops policy recommendations to foster economic development and position Fairfax to be an economically competitive and prosperous community. It also works closely with small local businesses to advise and guide them as they grow.

The department helps:

  • Deliver innovative solutions to cultivate a diverse and thriving local business base.
  • Facilitate development through public-private partnerships that address strategic priorities.
  • Foster an entrepreneurial and innovative ecosystem within the County and the region, building on competitive economic strengths.



The “County Conversation” is a podcast featuring employees and subject matter experts from the Fairfax County Government discussing programs, services and items of interest to residents of Fairfax County. Click here to listen to past episodes of "County Conversation.”

To find other county podcasts, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/podcasts.

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