Resident Owned Business Incubator (ROBI)

Resident Owned Business Incubator (ROBI)

New Cohort Starts on February 12, 2024!

We are pleased to announce our new partnership with Can I Live Inc. a national non-profit with one bodacious goal – “To Move a Million Moms (and dads) OFF the Welfare System by 2035”. With this new partnership, BAU is proud to offer under-served and under-resourced entrepreneurs a network of support, capital, and technical assistance through the “Resident Owned Business Incubator (ROBI)” -a entrepreneurship and small business licensing course which gives DC low-income residents a fair shot to self-employment.

ROBI Program provides DC’s first-generation, under-resourced entrepreneurs a full year of support, including 24 weeks of intense classroom training, business planning and coaching, marketing tools, networking opportunities, and seed investment.

ROBI is currently funded and offered through the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) for free for the District of Columbia residents. ROBI exists to fill an unmet need for firms required to meet Section 3 numerical quotas. Providing a back-office team of professionals with expertise in finance, human resources, legal, marketing, and administration -our entrepreneurs now have the tools they need to plan, launch, manage, and grow their micro-enterprise.

Students who complete the program will leave with their business plan, business license, website, logo, electronic business card, custom domain, personal email address, access to video apps and intros, royalty-free high-resolution photos, and a chance to pitch for cash in quarterly competitions.


ROBI is a virtual training program offered to anyone at least 18 years of age with high-speed internet/wi-fi capabilities. While we prefer a GED or high school diploma, it is not a requirement for some of our training programs.  Successful candidates must have access to the internet, have a basic level of technology capability, and can read and write at a 12th-grade level.  Our training programs are robust enough to give you what you need and basic enough to not overwhelm you as you begin the journey of entrepreneurship.  All ROBI courses are offered online through our e-learning COMMUNIVERSITY platform.


ROBI program participants must be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma.  While there are a couple of programs that do not require a high school diploma, it is a highly recommended thing to have. If you are applying to the program under the DC Government Department of Employment Services, here is the checklist of documents you will need to be certified and or deemed eligible to participate in the program.


ROBI Program Overview

Attending ROBI Business License Program:

1) Only DC residents can attend tuition-free because the program is funded by the DC Government Department of Employment Services (DOES). DC Government only pays for the DC residents’ tuition fees and business licenses, websites, marketing tools, and all the other perks that come with the training.

Application Link:

Here are the documents needed by the DC Government for eligibility determination for the tuition-free option:

Classes will start all virtually on Monday, February 12, 2024, but rolling admissions will provide you with some flexibility.


Q & A

1) Do you provide business loans and if so what is the interest rate? 

No, BAU nor Can I Live provides loans directly. However, we refer students to our partners such as WACIF, LIFE ASSET, and LATINO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CENTER (LEDC) for small business funding.

2) 24 weeks is the actual training and how long does ROBI/BAU support the business owners afterward?

Yes, 24 weeks is the actual training. Our students are supported with business coaching and technical assistance for 1 year after they complete their training.

3) Are non-profit businesses eligible for this 24-week training?

Yes, non-profits are eligible to apply as well.


We are grateful for receiving such an important grant from the DOES and extremely happy to find the chance to be beneficial to our community.

Hope to see your businesses grow with ROBI!

Apply Today:


In Partnership with:

— In Great Expectations,

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