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Mayor Bowser Celebrates Digital Empowerment Day and DC’s Status as a Top Tech Hub with Donation of 160 Chromebooks to Local Businesses

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser proclaimed and celebrated ‘Digital Empowerment Day’ in DC by recognizing District agencies and partners that are using technology to create new opportunities for residents and businesses. At the event, Mayor Bowser distributed free Chromebooks to registered business owners who are also participants in the Department of Small and Local Business Development’s (DSLBD) Dream Pitch Program and Aspire to Entrepreneurship programs. The 160 Chromebooks were provided by Human IT – a California-based organization dedicated to refurbishing donated technology for low-income individuals.  
“By being intentional and strategic about closing opportunity gaps and investing in residents and businesses, especially our local entrepreneurs, we have made DC a top city for tech,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know how important an online presence is for business these days, so distributing these computers is one more way we can help local entrepreneurs get their fair shot and make it easier to do business in DC.”
Recipients of the Chromebooks will also have access to in-person courses and certifications on computer-based skills and software offered through the DC Public Library. Residents can learn more about those offerings here

“Access to technology is fundamental for businesses to compete in today’s economy,” said DSLBD Acting Director Rosemary Suggs Evans. “Through Digital Empowerment Day, we are taking a proactive approach to ensuring that our small businesses and entrepreneurs have the resources they need to thrive.” 

Through strategic investments that support local entrepreneurs and make DC an attractive place to open and grow a business, Washington, DC has become a top city for tech and has widely been recognized as a leader in technology careers and talent, including:  

  • #1 Hub for Tech Careers (Forbes, 2024)  
  • #1 Most Innovative State (Wallet Hub, 2024)  
  • A Hotspot for New AI Jobs (Axios, 2024)  
  • #4 Top Tech Talent Market U.S. & Canada (CBRE, 2023)  
  • #2 Best US City for Women in Tech (SmartAsset, 2022) 

In February, Mayor Bowser signed a Mayor’s Order outlining actions that DC Government is taking to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in government services and how DC Government and the community can benefit from this new technology. In signing the Order, the Mayor also announced DC’s Artificial Intelligence Values Statement and Strategic Plan, which will ensure that the District’s use of generative AI aligns with DC values.
Mayor Bowser’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget includes significant investments for the small and local business community, including: 

  • $26 million to implement the Business and Entrepreneurship Support to Thrive (BEST) Act, which will simplify business licensing. 
  • $7 million for DMPED’s retail business grants, including the Great Streets program, Locally Made Manufacturing program, and Neighborhood Prosperity Fund to transform emerging corridors into thriving and inviting neighborhood centers. 
  • $4.86 million for DSLBD’s DC Main Streets program to support and promote the revitalization of business corridors. 
  • $1.5 million to continue developing and supporting the new DC Business Portal's operations to streamline various licensing processes for District businesses. 
  • $2.5 million to support pop-up and short-term retail in vacant commercial spaces Downtown.  
  • $5 million for the Vitality Fund, which provides grants to businesses in high-growth sectors.  

The Mayor’s FY25 budget also includes $564,000 to host more cultural events and programs at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library and serve more residents and tourists in Downtown DC.

To learn more about DSLBD and small business support programs, please visit

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