March 20, 2015
Muriel Bowser, the newly elected Mayor of Washington DC, wants you to know one thing: DC is open for business. In fact, there are about 1,000 people moving to our nation’s capital every month as a direct result of the thriving tech ecosystem that’s been established there.
If you look at the job growth alone over the last few years, DC has seen is in private sector companies – specifically, tech companies. And as Bowser looks to grow the city’s tech footprint, she’s adamant that the best days are still ahead of them.
That’s partly because she’s been working very diligently to get young girls engaged in STEM and coding activities as early as possible. According to Bowser, children know what’s they can achieve when they see what it takes to get to where they want to be.
To that end she’s been exploring and implementing new programs to get younger students engaged in tech activities via playful outlets like summer and recreation camps. To be clear, she’s not only focusing on the young demographics either as she recently struck a partnership with Howard University to establish a VC hub.
Part of the challenge for Mayor Bowser, though, is preparing for the future of the tech growth in her city: she’s invested in incubators like 1776, and will continue to do so, but there’s always the issue of attracting investment capital. It’s crucial that DC change the status quo that it’s difficult to attract said capital to the city because there’s an incredibly diverse and rich talent pool.
There’s also the issue of affordability in DC – when you’re a hot city people will flock to you and drive up the cost of living. From Bowser’s perspective, it’s important how she looks at agencies of the government to figure out the economic tools that will shape the future economy in the city.
One potential angle is the recently legalization of cannabis in the district: individuals can legally possess small amounts of marijuana and they have a successful medicinal marijuana scene. But you have to ensure that the rules are in place to help people who want to do things the right way as the movement scales, and she’s more than willing to work with the tech trends inherent in marijuana.
Regardless of how she accomplishes it, we can be sure that tech will in one way or another be at the heart of Bowser’s solutions. We were able to catch her for an interview at SXSW to talk more about it. Here’s the video:
From now until April 5, 2015, We DC – an initiative organized by the Washington DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP) – is accepting applications for their Live Free in D.C. competition. The competition will provide two members of your startup team to live and work at no cost in Washington, D.C. for a period up to three months. You can learn more about the Live Free in D.C. competition here.
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