Progress Updates

In March 2017, we released DC's new economic strategy, our roadmap for how we are growing DC's economy and ensuring that all Washingtonians have the opportunity to make a living in it.  Progress updates are below, listed chronologically.

Initiative Updates

Resilient DC

May 2018: Resilient DC gathered more than 75 community leaders, subject matter experts, and government officials to launch a process of discovery. The event organized interdisciplinary working groups around five big  questions about DC’s resilience. Participants discussed planning, climate action, economic and population growth, racial equity, technological change, and the Anacostia River.

July 2017: Mayor Bowser appointed longtime US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) policy strategist Kevin Bush as DC’s first Chief Resilience Officer (CRO).  Read more here.

May 2017: Resilient DC created and convened a Resilience Cabinet, identified resilience priorities based on stakeholder input, and launched the search for a chief resilience officer.

February 2017: Mayor Bowser launched DC’s resilience effort with 100 Resilient Cities.

Inclusive Innovation Fund

April 2018: The Bowser Administration today released a Request for Applications (RFA) for an investment partner to develop and manage the Inclusive Innovation Fund, a new program that aims to invest in early stage District businesses led by underrepresented entrepreneurs, including people of color, women, and LGBTQ people and individuals with disabilities. The District will make available seed funding of up to $1.5 million in Fiscal Year 2018 to help an investment professional partner build out a program. Read more here.

February 2018: Mayor Bowser issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input on the design and approach for the Inclusive Innovation Fund, a new program that aims to increase access to capital for District entrepreneurs, particularly for underrepresented entrepreneurs, such as people of color and women. Read more here.


Global Center of Mobility Tech + Policy

February 2018: Mayor Bowser established an Interagency Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Working Group to proactively prepare the District for AV technologies and ensure that AV deployment will benefit District residents and visitors. The working group includes District agencies focused on transportation, disability rights, environmental issues, and public safety.  Additionally, the Bowser Administration partnered with the Southwest Business Improvement District (SWBID) to release a Request for Information (RFI) for a AV pilot program on 10th Street, SW. Read more here. 

June 2017: DC was chosen as one of 5 global cities by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute to prepare for the future of driverless or AV technologies in a pilot program.  They recently launched this portal where you can share your thoughts on how autonomous vehicles can improve how we serve our communities.

January 2017: DC hosted the first MobilityTalks International conference, a forum designed for governments from around the world to exchange ideas on best practices related to the emerging trends in transportation surrounding connected and autonomous vehicles. Deputy Mayor Kenner served as a panelist.

DC West Coast Engagement

February 2018: Mayor Bowser and Deputy Mayor Brian Kenner traveled to Silicon Valley to pitch Washington, DC as the ideal location for tech companies, promote the District as the capital of inclusive innovation, and visit potential job creators.  The mission included meetings with tech giants (e.g. Lyft, Cisco, Yelp), Oakland-based Kapor Center for Social Impact, and the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford University.  Read more here. 

Mentoring for Mature Businesses

February 2018: Project 500 opened applications for the third cohort of entrepreneurs.  Businesses with revenue under $250,000 can apply.  The program is free of charge and is open to any DC-based business owner, with a preference to assist resident-owned businesses in Wards 7 and 8. This year, the city’s budget also includes funding for a low cost micro-loan fund solely for the purpose of supporting Project 500 businesses East of the River.  Read more here. 

November 2017: Mayor Bowser kicked off Small Business Saturday at the Main Street in Ward 7, designating the area a full member of the DC Main Streets program.  Read more here.

October 2017: Mayor Bowser presented a certificate to the Georgetown Main Street, designating the area a full member of the DC Main Streets program.  Read more here.

August 2017: In 3Q FY17, Main Streets programs have provided counseling to 218 businesses located within the 12 Main Streets corridors.

May 2017: The Deputy Mayor’s Office for Great Economic Opportunity partnered with Project 500, Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif), and Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to launch Ascend 2020 DC.  Ascend 2020 DC is an initiative to accelerate the growth of minority-, women- and veteran-owned small businesses by extending entrepreneurial support systems to underserved entrepreneurs and neighborhoods in DC.

May 2017: Project 500 completed its first year of operation, marking more than 260 enrolled businesses that on average increased revenue by 15%.

DC Fed Tech

February 2018: The Fed Tech program, in partnership with the Washington DC Economic Partnership, hosted a networking mixer featuring pitches from leading researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and information about the Spring ’18 Fed Tech cohort and opportunity for entrepreneurs to be paired with a cutting-edge technology from a government lab. Read more here.

November 2017: Completed fall 2017 cohort of Fed Tech. The cohort included several Project 500 entrepreneurs and 2 teams of American University students. Read more about the cohort and program here.

May 2017: Completed spring 2017 cohort of Fed Tech, a program that connects DC entrepreneurs with inventors from federal labs to advance tech transfer – a major driver of innovation.

Pennsylvania 2040 Project

February 2018: Phase I was completed in October 2017, which delivered gigabit public Wi-Fi and LED-based Intelligent Lighting for the 3×3 block area and currently planning Phase II which will include new technologies that measures the performance, volumes, and flows of city traffic.

Lighthouse City

February 2018: OCTO is currently piloting Cisco’s Kinetics for Cities data platform and evaluating the potential of another Smart & Connected Community proof of concept in DC. Cisco also is working to expand its Networking Academy presence with new academies at UDC, UDCCC, and In3 (in addition to existing at McKinley Tech & Phelps).  Cisco team members have discussed with DC Government ways to expose more students to self-paced courses in curriculum including Cyber, IoT, and Entrepreneurship. These courses could be offered at the middle school level in order to begin building a pipeline of students who would continue to earn a valuable industry certification for workforce and job readiness.

Major Conventions

February 2018: DestinationDC will welcome Teach for America, an organization that recognized DC’s leading educational ecosystem in Feburary 2021, and in June of 2024, 2025, and 2026, DC will welcome Pegasystems, a cloud software company that recognized DC’s critical mass of leaders in the local tech economy. Both groups are examples of DDC’s new industry-based positioning at work.

April 2017: TechWeek, the nation’s leading technology conference and festival, announced that it is coming to DC for the first time.

MLK Gateway

February 2018: The Menkiti Group and Enlightened Inc. plan to break ground in 2019.

Permitting and Licensing Systems Redesign

January 2018: DCRA launched the DC Property & Permit Center Portal, a one-stop shop for permits.  The portal provides a range of online tools to apply for building permits, request city services, research property regulatory information, and research and analyze permit data.

July 2017: At Form-a-Palooza residents and design & behavioral science experts reworked the following forms using design thinking: 1) DC Driver License and Identification Card Application 2) Basic Business License EZ 3) TANF Job Search Logs 4) Disability Services Intake Application 5) Lead Disclosure Form.  This initiative was led by The Lab @ DC. Read more here.

CEO Thought Leaders Series

January 2018: The Washington DC Economic Partnership began convening monthly industry-focused discussions. The goals of these discussions are to help foster a stronger community among attendees, better understand the needs of different industry verticals, and introduce business leaders to DC government and the support provided.

Health Innovation

January 2018: Hosted a Health Innovation Discussion with 40+ attendees to bring the community together and better understand the challenges and opportunities facing the DC health innovation community.  Click here for discussion notes and key takeaways.

Procurement to Power the Local Economy

December 2017: Kicked off anchor “action planning” with all five institutions to increase DC MBE procurement, and began conducting a baseline assessments to evaluate current practices/policies relevant to supplier diversity and to determine current DC MBE spending levels.

October 2017: Developed and distributed a “Best Practices Compendium,” a searchable digital resource synthesizing 50+ specific internal policies and practices that advance supplier diversity, which will be used a resource for Anchor Members in their plan development. The compendium was informed by 32 interviews CNHED conducted, a review of 20 reports, and participation in 3 learning trips to gather specific successful internal changes that can be implemented at large anchor institutions.

September 2017: Held a full-day Leadership Summit on Best Practices in Supplier Diversity, bringing together 50 anchor institution leaders, community partners, and peer institutions from other cities.

August 2017: Finalized commitments from 5 local anchor institutions to affirm their interest in increasing their procurement with DC-based minority-owned business enterprises.

Green Book and Procurement App

December 2017: Mayor Bowser announced FY18 Small Business Enterprise (SBE) goal and the FY18 Green Book.  The Green Book helps SBEs navigate the local government procurement process by providing an agency-by-agency overview of SBE spending availability, and the online platform allows SBEs to search for opportunities in real time. In FY18, Mayor Bowser committed to spending $656 million, or 50 percent of the expendable budget, with SBEs.  In FY17, the Administration committed to spend $564 million with SBEs and surpassed that goal by spending more than $743 million with SBEs – more than any previous year. 

International Tourism Catalysts

December 2017: Destination DC conducted a sales mission in India enabled by the new direct route from Dulles to Delhi.

July 2017: Air India’s nonstop flight from Delhi to Dulles begins.  Read more here.

June 2017: DC hosted IPW, the largest international travel show, for the first time.  The event attracted more than 6,400 attendees from 70 countries, including more than 1,300 international and domestic travel buyers, and a record 530 journalists from the US and abroad.  According to US Travel, IPW is expected to generate $1.7 billion in economic impact to the District and attract more than 1 million visitors to the region during that time.

February 2017: Nonstop service between Delhi and Dulles was announced.  The new route, which will offer three nonstop flights per week starting in July 2017, is estimated to bring $10 million to the District in total economic impact and $30 million annually to the region. Click here for the full press release.

Made in DC

October 2017: Mayor Bowser opens Shop Made in DC – a new brick and mortar retail and cafe space stocked exclusively with DC-based brands. Shop Made in DC will create a low-entry to marketplace opportunity for creative entrepreneurs to sell their goods and increase visibility of brands while stimulating the local economy.  Click here for the full press release.

Great Streets

October 2017: Mayor Bowser announced the awardees for the Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, a pilot program that provides financial support for non-residential components of mixed-use projects in underserved neighborhoods in Washington, DC. Through the Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, LDP Holdings LLC was awarded $2.1 million for its Penn Hill project located at 3200 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE and South Capitol Improvement LLC was awarded $880,000 for its South Capitol Affordable Housing project located at the intersection of Atlantic and South Capitol Streets, SW. Click here for the full press release.

May 2017: Launched the Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, a pilot program that provides funding for non-residential components of mixed-use projects in underserved neighborhoods in the District — specifically, census tracts where unemployment rates are 10% or greater.

BEACON, Women Entrepreneurs Network

September 2017: Mayor Bowser and BEACON: The DC Women Founders Initiative awarded 19 grants totaling $50,000 to support women entrepreneurs in Washington, DC. More than 85 organizations applied for the program and 67 advanced to a community voting round that saw over 5,000 votes cast by members of the public. Click here for the full press release.


August 2017: Mayor Bowswer kicked off the District’s second annual 202Creates, a month-long showcase of the District’s diverse and vibrant creative community. Throughout September, 202Creates will highlight the artists, makers, and entrepreneurs who contribute to Washington, DC’s creative economy.  To date, 202Creates has supported more than 4,000 events. Click here for the full press release.

Major District-Owned Real Estate Developments

August 2017:

Skyland: The Skyland project is geared to promote neighborhood revitalization and economic growth on an 18-acre site located in Ward 7 at the intersections of Good Hope Road, Naylor Road, and Alabama Ave SE. While the Skyland Shopping Center is still active, a considerable portion of the shopping center is vacant and will start to be demolished in the upcoming months. The potential of this site is significant, due to its prominent location, the considerable land area available for redevelopment, and the resources and public benefits the project would provide to the neighborhood. Site work on the Skyland project is under construction.  The Skyland Town Center redevelopment will ultimately include approximately 480 residential units and approximately 246,000 square-feet of commercial space.  Skyland will be a combination of high-quality national-brand retailers and neighborhood serving shops and restaurants and residential housing.

St. Elizabeth’s: Rich in economic promise, historic resources, and federal access, St Elizabeths East is one of the few remaining large redevelopment opportunities in the nation’s capital – an opportunity to transform a 183-acre lot into a marketplace of ideas, innovation, and commercialization.  Less than three miles and just a few Metro stops from the U.S. Capitol, St Elizabeths East invites a mixed-use development that simultaneously serves nearby communities, nearby federal office tenants, and the pent-up local demand for retail, residential, and office/educational uses – all enhanced by substantial District of Columbia investment and planning to support the surrounding neighborhoods and infrastructure of this incomparable campus. The St. Elizabeth’s East Campus development is bringing life back to a long vacant historic part of Ward 8.  The development will bring new jobs and visitors to East of the River and will include an Entertainment & Sports Arena and 252 units of affordable housing, market rate townhomes, and commercial, office, and retail space which will provide new amenities to residents.  Phase 1 infrastructure work and construction of the Entertainment & Sports Arena is scheduled for completion in fall 2018.

Hill East: Hill East District Waterfront is comprised of 67 acres located between the eastern edge of the Capital Hill neighborhood and the western shore of the Anacostia River. It hosted the DC General Hospital, the Central Detention Facility/DC Jail, and other buildings and parking lots, none of which uses invited or made accessible the waterfront to the adjoining neighborhood. DC plans to redevelop the 50 acres of Hill East District and transform them into a vibrant, mixed-use urban waterfront community.  Once fully built, the new waterfront community will connect the surrounding Hill East neighborhood to the Anacostia waterfront via tree-lined public streets, recreational trails, and accessible waterfront parklands.   Since March, the development team has finalized building and infrastructure designs, secured zoning approvals and applied for building permits.  Construction of both buildings and infrastructure is expected to begin in spring of 2018.  The mixed-use project includes 32,000 sq. ft of ground floor retail and 354 residential units, 30% of which are affordable (approximately half at or below 30 AMI, the other half at or below 50 AMI).  It is projected to produce 60 construction jobs, 60 permanent jobs, and approximately $1.1 million in new annual tax revenue.   

McMillan: Construction of a new appx. 17,500 sq-ft community center, park and playground on the 6.2-acre Parcel 6 (South Parcel of the historic McMillan Slow Sand Filtration site.  Scope also includes stabilization, preservation, and restoration of the historic assets inside the north and south service courts including all sand bins, sand washer, and regulator houses.  In FY17 Q3 there were remand hearings before the Zoning Commission and the Mayor’s Agent for Historic Preservation.  In FY17 Q4 we expect additional hearings before the Zoning Commission and the Mayor’s Agent for Historic Preservation.  In FY17 Q4 we also expect that DGS will commence preservation and stabilization work on many of the above grade historic resources within McMillan. 

SolarWorks DC

August 2017: DC was recognized with a 2017 Innovation Award by the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) for the District’s green workforce development programs such as SolarWorks, the Green Zone Environmental Program, and River Corps. Click here for the full press release.

July 2017: Mayor Bowser launched Solar Works DC, an eco-friendly program to install solar panels in the homes of nearly 300 low-income residents, reducing expenses to nearly $600 annually.  Solar Works DC will also provide job training for more than 200 Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP) participants.  Click here for the full press release.

May 2017: GRID Alternatives Mid-Atlantic was awarded a $950,000 grant to train 75 District residents for solar careers and install solar systems for up to 100 low-income households in year one. Click here for the full press release.

DC Procurement Technical Assistance Center

August 2017: From October 2016 – June 2017, the DC PTAC center held 76 events, served 1,313 participants, and provided 476 counseling hours- ultimately helping DC businesses land over $17.8 million in local and federal government contracts. 

June 2017: DC Procurement Technical Assistance Center hosted the 2017 DC PTAC Small Business Summit .  The summit connected local small businesses with the resources and contracts needed to successfully navigate procurement opportunities.

Aspire for Entrepreneurship

August 2017: The third cohort for Aspire launched and are preparing to move from a pilot to full program housed in DOES in 2018. 

June 2017: The second Aspire cohort graduated.

March 2017: Launched second cohort and received a $10,000 US Conference of Mayors (USCM) DollarWise innovation grant to help expand the program.  Click here for more information.

Worker and Business Cooperatives

August 2017: DSLBD is holding monthly stakeholder meetings to support the development of a speaker’s list, speaking opportunities, and a community-developed mission for a peer-to-peer network.  Stakeholders have held public workshops and made radio appearances. 

Maker Space

July 2017: Published “Innovation Space and Marketplace Report: Developing a Makerspace in the District” report.  This report is one of the first steps necessary to plan and develop the Innovation Space and Marketplace.  The analysis in the report will help DMPED and other DC agencies develop a makerspace that will best meet the District’s goals and stakeholder needs.  Read the full report here.


May 2017: Engaged hundreds of residents in over 50 innoMAYtion events throughout the city and notched 12 million social media impressions in May, a 4.5 million increase from 2016.

District Open Data Policy

May 2017: Mayor Bowser announced DC Government’s new Data Policy.  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.  Check out hundreds of DC government datasets at Open Data DC.

Exports and Middle East Investment

April 2017:  Deputy Mayor Kenner led the District’s first trade mission to the Middle East, covering Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha.

Inclusive Innovation Incubator (IN3)

April 2017: In3 celebrated its grand opening, officially opening its doors on April 17, 2017 and hosting a “Week of Welcome” that drew nearly 800 community participants.

Retention, Expansion and Attraction Coordinating Committee

April 2017: The working group convened for the first time in April.

Business Supports Navigator

March 2017: DMPED launched, a comprehensive, searchable database of over 80 incentives and other funding-related programs available through District Government.