BMV Founder Amongst DC 2021 Inno’s Fire Award Winners

Alfred Duncan

It’s time, once again, to single out the Greater Washington companies, investors and players who are setting its startup ecosystem ablaze.

That’s right. We’re unveiling the 50 winners of the Washington Business Journal and DC Inno Fire Awards of 2021. The honorees range from nascent to mature, across industry and geography within the DMV.

These are companies that closed new rounds of funding, launched new products, reinvented themselves and not only survived the pandemic, but helped others through the crisis as well. They are growing headcount, expanding their footprints within and beyond the region, promoting equity and elevating the local startup universe. They are founders and funders, first-time business owners and seasoned executives, builders and believers.

They are all on fire.

We compiled this list from a combination of audience nominations, expert input and editorial coverage. Some have made the list previously; most have not. Of course, it’s impossible to highlight every impressive innovator in this ecosystem. But each member of this group deserves the recognition — and we will tell you why.

Keep an eye out for more about these companies in mid-August, when we’ll also be revealing a top “blazer” from each category and celebrating the honorees at our virtual event.

Alfred was part of the Community Group


  • Meagan Metzgerfounder and CEO of Dcode, a D.C. accelerator that connects tech companies with the federal market.
  • Sally Allain, who’s leading Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s JLabs incubator at Children’s National Hospital’s campus at Walter Reed, which is now live.
  • Shelly Bellfounder and CEO of Black Girl Ventures, a District nonprofit that connects female founders of color with opportunities and resources.
  • Alfred Duncan, a musician and entrepreneur who created Black Men Ventures to foster access to capital for Black male founders.
  • Juliana Cardona Mejiafounder and CEO of D.C. nonprofit Street Entrepreneurs, which runs an accelerator for underrepresented entrepreneurs.
  • Dahna Goldstein, who’s overseeing impact investing for D.C. social entrepreneurship nonprofit Halcyon.
  • Patty Simontondirector of Bethesda Green’s Be Green Business program, whose programming supports startups addressing environmental challenges.