Sun. Jan 17th, 2021


Where Entertainment meets Reality

Hub for Black Businesses, Market 7, is a Semi-Finalist for 100K Grant — Help Her Win!

Market 7 is one of three semi-finalists in the nationwide Essence + Pine Sol’s Build Your Own Legacy Grant. The contest, ending July 1, will provide one Black woman-owned business with a grant of $100,000.

The winner will be determined by a public vote, and Market 7 is asking everyone across the country to help in securing the grant by voting. Receiving the grant will fund the development of their new 7,000 sq ft food hall, which will include a community grocery store and several food stall incubations offering culinary favorites from across the diaspora.

To support Market 7 in the Essence + Pine Sol competition, please visit before July 1 to submit your vote.


Market 7 provides Black-owned businesses a sustainable platform for vendorship to sell fresh produce and other sustainable goods, and will serve as the incubator of the new food hall at Benning Market. With Ward 7 long viewed as a food and retail desert, Market 7 serves as a critical community based solution in the revitalization and restoration of economic stability, holistic health, and social needs for residents east of the river in Washington, D.C.  

Inspired by the cooperative economics of small local markets while participating in a teaching program in Ghana, Mary Blackford, Founder of Market 7, brings together several entrepreneurs in the DC area to solve some of the most grueling challenges facing communities east of the river. Over the last three years, Market 7 hosted dozens of community market pop-ups with the help of 60 Black-owned small businesses that include local urban farmers, packaged food providers, sustainable goods makers, and home essential merchants. As a result, the initiative has been well-received and is currently seeking opportunities for growth and expansion to extend its efforts in their new commercial space. 


For information on Market 7’s sponsorship, engagement opportunities, or other inquiries, please email To follow the development of Market 7 at Benning Market please visit @market7dc on Twitter or Instagram for updates.

Founder’s Bio

Mary Blackford is a Washington, DC resident and graduate of Babson College with a B.S. in Business Management. She has over 10 years of experience in social entrepreneurship and finance, mastering her leadership skills in supporting micro-lending, small business development, food systems, and community advocacy.