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Mayor Bowser and Howard University Announce Technology and Innovation Partnership

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mayor Bowser and Howard University Announce Technology and Innovation Partnership

The partnership creates the District’s first venture capital hub for start-ups and emerging companies.

Today at Howard University, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a partnership to establish DC’s first Technology and Innovation Hub which will expand the District’s growing technology and innovation ecosystem. Mayor Bowser was joined by Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick.

The District’s partnership with Howard University will focus on leveraging University resources for venture capital firms to support medium to late-stage technology and innovation startups.

“Today, we are taking a major step towards building an ecosystem that will make DC a world-wide hub for technology and innovation,” said Mayor Bowser. “This plan will bolster efforts to support our growing technology and innovation sectors by addressing the needs of startups and entrepreneurs in the District. I look forward to working with Howard University to foster more innovation, inclusion and equity throughout the community.”

The partnership will include an economic investment from the District to Howard University to finance the agreement. Howard University will offer up to 10,000 sq. ft. of office space on its campus in Northwest DC to house the tech hub. Occupancy is targeted for this year.

“Throughout our 148-year history, Howard University has served as the starting point for countless entrepreneurs, innovators, and visionaries looking to make a positive impact in their local community, our nation, and the world,” said Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, President of Howard University. We’re proud of that legacy and recognize the urgent need to serve as a starting point for the next generation of technology and innovation leaders – particularly, men and women of color, too often overlooked when opportunities like this become available.”

Federal City Council CEO and former DC Mayor Anthony Williams added, "With this announcement, Mayor Bowser is taking a major step forward in supporting the District's tech and innovative sector. We recognize that access to capital is one of the biggest hurdles for the growth of DC startups. This innovative partnership with Howard University addresses that vital need while promoting DC's fastest growing industry and providing greater job opportunities for DC residents."

To further demonstrate the District’s commitment to the tech sector, Mayor Bowser also announced that the Connect.DC Digital Inclusion Initiative is partnering with Code for Progress to provide training and mentorship to young residents of Wards 5, 7, and 8. Code for Progress fellowships are year-long programs, where participants are trained in coding and human centered design, and are coached by talented local professionals.

Mayor Bowser also announced the appointments of Acting Chief Technology Officer Tegene Baharu and CapStat Director Tony Saudek.

Mr. Baharu currently serves as Deputy Chief Technology Officer at OCTO. Currently Mr. Baharu’s oversees all of the District’s Network Operations, Citywide IT Security Operations, Telecom Governance, and DC-Net. Mr. Baharu’s operations serve 96 District agencies and several Federal Entities leveraging his technology shared services model.

Mr. Saudek previously served as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Benefits at the Department of Veterans Affairs. He joined the VA in August 2013 to manage the VBA Stat process focused on eliminating the backlog of Veterans Benefits. At the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), Mr. Saudek led a cultural transformation toward data-driven management geared toward maximizing impact on mission. Mr. Saudek's work contributed to falling recidivism, enhanced life outcomes for court-involved youth, and national recognition for innovation in public safety.