Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

March 13 2017

Why Washington, D.C. is a Capital of Innovation

Jennifer Dienst

What sets Washington, D.C. apart from other tech cities? Besides being a leading knowledge hub and hot spot for innovation, it offers a high concentration of technology and cybersecurity opportunities, local government-backed startups and programs, and unprecedented access to federal regulators and policymakers. Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital (who recently published a whitepaper on the topic), has made driving more tech-focused meetings and conventions to the city a major goal. Read on for six reasons why D.C. is a top spot for tech.

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1. The numbers have it. The D.C. region contains more than 1,000 startups and 185,000 high-tech employees, including 27,000 cybersecurity jobs. High-tech employment is also 2.5 times more concentrated in the D.C. metro area than the rest of the U.S.

Washington DC - Tech-Style Image

2. A top city for tech investment. Venture capitalists near and far are fueling this landscape of innovation from initial seeds and beyond. In fact, five of the top 100 investors in early startup tech and biotech companies are located in the metro D.C. area, according to entrepreneur.com, and The Atlantic ranked D.C. among the top 10 cities in the world for venture capital investment.

3. A magnet for movers and shakers. Japanese telecom and internet giant SoftBank invested $1.2 billion this past December in OneWeb, an aerospace company dedicated to improving internet access with its satellite technology. The hefty investment seems like it should be local news in San Francisco or New York, but OneWeb is one of many tech companies based in D.C.

Washington DC - Capitol Night

4. A wellspring of intellectual capital. Thanks to its skilled workforce, 50 percent of the region’s residents have a college degree compared to 33 percent nationally. There are more than 10 local colleges headquartered in the area, and the nearby states of Maryland and Virginia lead the nation in concentration of bachelor’s degrees in STEM disciplines.

5. Fostering an inclusive culture. At the local level, the D.C. government is backing entrepreneurship through incentives and programs, with the hopes of creating 5,000 new tech jobs and 500 new tech businesses for underrepresented entrepreneurs. And WE Capital, a consortium of leading businesswomen in D.C., has created a network for female investors as well as funds promising women-led businesses.

Washington DC - Georgetown Waterfront Night (1)

6. Tech can grow here. No other city has as much access to lawmakers and policy leaders as Washington, D.C. Here, entrepreneurs and investors can learn more about regulations in their respective industries and make their voices heard on Capitol Hill. It’s also where they can form better partnerships between businesses and local and federal governments.

Brought to you by Destination DC (washington.org/meetings).
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