(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner announced that they are traveling to Silicon Valley to pitch Washington, DC as an ideal location for tech companies, promote the District as the capital of inclusive innovation, and visit potential job creators. The Mayor will travel to California on Friday, February 9 and return on Monday, February 12.
“This is a first-of-its-kind trip for the city in which we target the West Coast as an opportunity to attract businesses and capital that will help us spread prosperity across the District,” said Mayor Bowser. “As we work to create more pathways to the middle class for Washingtonians, we are focused on bringing in companies that are looking for the type of talent and entrepreneurial spirit that exists in Washington, DC.”
Deputy Mayor Kenner began engagement in California on Wednesday, February 7, and the mission will include meetings with tech giants Lyft, Cisco, and Yelp. The team will also meet with Oakland-based Kapor Center for Social Impact to discuss making the technology ecosystem and entrepreneurship more diverse and inclusive, and the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford University to discuss the District’s work related to autonomous vehicles and mobility.
Additionally, the team will use the trip as an opportunity to seek ideas for the Bowser Administration’s recently announced Request for Information (RFI) for an Inclusive Innovation Fund. The new program aims to increase access to capital for District entrepreneurs, particularly for underrepresented entrepreneurs, such as people of color and women.
“Washington, DC continues to rank number one as a place for entrepreneurs who are women or people of color to thrive. But there are barriers that still need to break down, including access to capital. This mission allows us to reach beyond our borders in an effort to drive investment to our city so that more organizations like In3 and Beacon can prosper in DC,” said Deputy Mayor Kenner.
During the Bowser Administration, Washington, DC has become a leading and desirable location for technology companies. In the summer of 2017, Yelp announced plans to open an office in the city, Apple announced plans to revive the Carnegie Library, and DC-based FiscalNote confirmed plans to stay and expand in Washington, DC. Additionally, in 2015, the Advisory Board Company, the largest technology company in DC with 3,800 employees, agreed to stay and grow in the District. Last month, Amazon announced that Washington, DC is one of twenty finalist regions for Amazon HQ2.
On Thursday, Deputy Mayor Kenner will join Mapbox CEO Eric Gunderson and VP of People Zaina Orbai for a fireside chat to discuss inclusive innovation across the country. Mapbox, which was founded in Washington, DC, is a location data platform for mobile and web applications. Following the fireside chat, Barney Krucoff, the District’s Interim Chief Technology Officer, will demonstrate a crime mapping application that uses the Mapbox platform.