The “American Dream” is a phrase that inspires foreigners to start a new life in the U.S. replete with fresh and exciting opportunities, as they contribute financially to America’s economy.
For most non-Americans, the usual places that come to mind are Silicon Valley or Hollywood, both in California. Tech talents may gravitate towards the former while aspiring actors may seek auditions in Hollywood with hopes of acting in a blockbuster, working to grab every single chance to realize their “American Dream.”
But not too many people think of Washington D.C. as a place for entrepreneurs to do business. But there are many reasons why entrepreneurs should consider it.
A glimpse of a diverse capital in the U.S.
Washington D.C. has a flourishing local startup ecosystem, while many influential international organizations involved in entrepreneurship and global business have set up their headquarters there.
1776, founded in February 2013 and rooted in Washington D.C., is an incubator that helps to cultivate disruptive startups. In 2017, it merged with Benjamin’s Desk, a Philadelphia-based coworking company, to create the largest entrepreneurial ecosystem for startups in America’s Northeast Corridor.
The Global Entrepreneurship Network that connects founders all over the globe is also based in Washington. At the invitation of the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Press Center, its president Jonathan Ortman, shared his thoughts about entrepreneurship with a group of foreign journalists at 1776.
“The majority of job creation (starts with) firms less than five-years old. Therefore, we need to care about startups,” said Ortman.
Ortman said that new industries tended to be disruptors.
Governments, he said, were unprepared for the challenge of striking a crucial balance between supporting traditional industries while encouraging innovation.
“We believe that connected ecosystems globally could foster a healthier ecosystem (overall), “ Ortman said.
“(An) ecosystem is at the center of creating a renewing human spirit in creating new value.”
Ortman’s organization operates a platform of projects and programs in 170 countries that are aimed at making it easier for anyone, anywhere to start and scale a business.
By fostering deeper cross-border collaboration and initiatives between entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and entrepreneurial support organizations, Ortman’s organization aims at building a healthier global startup ecosystem.
Ortman launched his cornerstone initiative, Global Entrepreneurship Week, in 2008 with the support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Ever since then, millions of people every November have explored their potential through tens of thousands of events in their area.
Through Global Entrepreneurship Week, Ortman has been able to assemble a broad multi-disciplinary coalition that forms the backbone of operations and involves entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, researchers and affiliated support organizations.
Caring about rapid change in the global startup ecosystem,Ortman also chairs that Global Entrepreneurship Congress.
Every April in a chosen host nation thousands of leaders, who regard innovation as a key issue, gather together to discuss and collaborate on effective approaches to advancing entrepreneurial growth.
Washington D.C. Women’s Business Center is another key organization in Washington DC. that offers support to entrepreneurs.
The center provides counseling, training and special events for women who are current and future small business owners.
“In addition to technical assistance, advocacy is provided for inclusion of women-owned businesses in federal procurement and gaining access to capital, “ Dee Claxton, the center’s director, told Business Next.
According to Claxton, the center is funded partly by the U.S. government’s Small Business Administration and operated by the non-profit National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
Director Claxton also shared with journalists that many applications come from immigrant women from regions such as Latin America.
As a female role model who encourages more and more females to start their own business, Claxton has focused her business expertise on providing quality customer services in the hospitality industry.
Her efforts led her pioneering a first-of-its-kind program that merges customer service with security awareness.
Claxton has been featured in nationally syndicated television programs and in publications that include Forbes’ “Travel like a Billionaire” and “The Insiders List”.
In conclusion, Claxton’s motto for all entrepreneurs is: “Think big, think deep and think in time!”