D.C. tries to become nation’s next technology hub

DC mayor Muriel Bowser is on a quest to make this city a national technology center.

She plans on accomplishing this small feat by spending 350,000 dollars to rent out Crave, a restaurant and sushi bar next to the convention center in Austin, which will be hosting the well-known technology and music festival called South by Southwest.

Bowser and her team have deemed this spot the “We DC House”. They are marketing it as a drop-in lounge for the convention participants with the hopes of highlighting DC as an up and coming technology hub.

“The goal has been to increase our presence at South by Southwest. To really understand what it will take to get tech businesses not just to locate but to grow in the District of Columbia,” Bowser said.

In an interview with the Post, Bowser Chief of Staff John Falcicchio explained this focus on technology stating, “This is something the District decided to put some emphasis on.”

Planning for this event began before Bowser took office. Even though she reduced the budget for this event by 125,000 dollars, some members of the DC Council have criticized her for spending more than double of the city’s budget from last year on this event.

In response, Bowser has frequently mentioned the importance of attracting new businesses and jobs to the city. Along with this event, her administration has formed a partnership with Howard University to help encourage tech start-ups on campus. She will also fund a yearlong program that seeks to help students in disadvantaged neighborhoods obtain jobs in computer coding.

Bowser has focused these efforts on building DC’s image as a progressive technological city because she currently believes the District lacks a “cohesive tech ecosystem,” she told the Post.

Through these new initiatives and the event in Austin, Bowser hopes that she will help “brand DC as a national technology hub”.

Photo: John Fischer via flickr

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