When people think of innovation happening in the DC area they probably think of Georgetown, George Washington, 1776 and Crystal City. Despite its rich history and groundbreaking legacy, Howard University is probably not one of the first institutions that springs to mind.
Now things might start to change. Earlier this week, Howard University and Mayor Muriel Bowser selected Luma Lab to operate a new DC-based incubator on Howard’s campus. It is the District’s first venture capital hub for start-ups and emerging companies. The incubator will provide much needed support for underrepresented entrepreneurs and businesses that provide innovative products and services to underserved communities.
“Homegrown innovation in the District is expanding, and our tech sector is growing,” said Mayor Bowser in a statement. “I remain committed to supporting our entrepreneurs and startups so that every resident has a chance to benefit from the innovation economy. And I am confident that this partnership with Howard University and Luna Labs will keep DC on the cutting edge.”
The innovation hub on Howard's campus had multiple tech and entrepreneurship organizations to choose from and Luma Lab came out the winner. It is part of an effort by Mayor Bowser and Howard President Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick’s to foster an inclusive technology and innovation industry that celebrates diversity.
“Howard’s partnership with the District and Luma Lab exemplifies the University’s longstanding commitment to innovation,” said Frederick in a statement. “This incubator will support our social mission by creating opportunities for the next generation of minority innovators at Howard University and beyond.”
Luma Lab is part of minority owned Clearly Innovative, Inc. Its goal is to expose kids in underserved areas to tech and entrepreneurship. It also provides education, mentorship and a positive learning environment for children, teenagers, and adults.
The District donated almost $1 million to construct the innovation hub within Howard's Wonder Plaza retail center. It contains over 8,000 square feet of cutting edge work space that will offer technology and entrepreneurship training, affordable co-working space, networking events, mentorship and strategic connections to investors.
The incubator is expected to launch in Fall 2016.
Feature image courtesy of Howard.edu