(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) kicked off the third annual innoMAYtion, a month-long initiative that showcases DC’s tech and innovation ecosystem. Highlighting public and private sector programs, innoMAYtion focuses on innovative and inclusive ways the city is meeting the needs of DC residents and how ideas from local entrepreneurs continue to reshape Washington, DC.
“As we continue the work of spreading inclusive prosperity and ensuring more residents benefit from DC’s growth, innoMAYtion is an opportunity to showcase the people and ideas that make Washington, DC the capital of inclusive innovation,” said Mayor Bowser. “I continue to be inspired by DC residents and businesses whose ideas, investments, and programs are improving our city and giving more Washingtonians an opportunity to participate in our growing tech and innovation economy.”
As part of innoMAYtion, Mayor Bowser announced the new DC Inclusive Innovation Program which will invest millions in capital over the coming year, with a focus on supporting underserved entrepreneurs. The goals of the program are to support entrepreneurs facing disproportionate barriers to capital and to grow the private sector economy by spurring business activity in the six industry areas (impact economy, smart cities and civic solutions, professional services innovation, hospitality innovation, data science and management, security technology) identified in DC’s new economic strategy.
“I am proud to see how innoMAYtion continues to get bigger and better every year,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian T. Kenner. “The growth of this initiative is a testament to our rapidly expanding and diverse innovation ecosystem that continues to push boundaries every day. Their work has put the District on the map as a place where great ideas can flourish and inclusive innovation is supported.”
At the kickoff, Mayor Bowser also announced the DC Government’s new Data Policy, one of the most progressive and comprehensive data policies in the nation. Under the new Data Policy, District agency data will be open to the public by default to the fullest extent consistent with safety, privacy, and security. The new policy will streamline the process for DC Government agencies to continue adding to the over 900 datasets currently published, and requires the District to classify all enterprise datasets, even the datasets that cannot be published, by level of sensitivity and regularly publish the inventory, including the classifications, as an open dataset.
“The greatest value from the District’s investment in data can only be realized when the data is freely shared,” said DC Chief Technology Officer Archana Vemulapalli. “This policy reflects our DC values, to be good stewards of information, promote honesty, and continuously collaborate with our civic community.”
The expansion of DC’s Open Data Policy and the Inclusive Innovation Program announcement are the first of many events occurring throughout the month of May. Events during innoMAYtion will primarily focus on four key themes: Impact Economy, Smart Cities and Civic Solutions, Youth in STEM and Entrepreneurship, and Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship. To view the full calendar of innoMAYtion events, visit innoMAYtion.com.
Since launching innoMAYtion in 2015, the District has opened In3, the first inclusive incubator in the nation aimed at supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs; unveiled Pathways to Inclusion, a major report that will guide DC to become the most inclusive city for entrepreneurs in the country; and launched Project 500, a program that will help 500 disadvantaged small businesses in the District grow in revenue and size over the next three years.
In its first year, Project 500 enrolled 360 businesses, 60 percent from Wards 7 and 8, focused in three primary sectors: technology and technology enabled companies, real estate and construction, and professional services. Approximately 39 percent of the businesses enrolled in Project 500 have noted increased profitability, 12 percent made new hires, and over $160,000 in new capital has been raised.
“Accessing capital is the single most significant challenge businesses face,” said Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity Courtney R Snowden. “This challenge is more deeply felt by businesses in overlooked and underserved communities which is why we are focused on using the resources within government to expand access to low-cost capital for resident entrepreneurs. By giving more residents the tools they need to operate on a level playing field, we will truly be able to spread inclusive prosperity and create more opportunities for residents and businesses in overlooked and underserved communities.”
In addition to today’s announcements, “DC Values in Action: A Roadmap to Inclusive Prosperity,” the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget and Financial Plan, expands the District’s Small Business Microloan Fund Program and launches District Capitalized - a revamped small business lending program geared toward meeting the growing needs of DC’s robust small business community, including disadvantaged businesses located in overlooked and underserved communities. Program details, including funding and eligibility, will be announced later this month.