SMEs are a critical engine of economic growth. For NOVA to be a desirable and fruitful region for high-tech SMEs, it must foster a more supportive environment for ventures to thrive. This requires new and additional capital, and business acceleration and commercialization services—the gold standard for entrepreneurial-based economic development—that currently do not exist.
We partner with Angel Investor Groups, such as Washington DC ArchAngels and Citrine Angels in the Greater Washington Region to run monthly roundtables to recruit and train accredited investors in startup investing (e.g., urban technology, valuations, due diligence, term sheets, etc.).
Working closely with our sister organization, Smart City Works Venture Labs, we offer a 90‐day intensive business accelerator program that is designed to propel cohort companies into the marketplace endowed with proven products and equipped with the skills to grow and compete for market share and funding.
The program has three key elements: group classroom training focused on running and scaling high‐impact businesses; one‐on‐one mentorship where each business is analyzed, company gaps are identified, and company‐specific growth and scaling programs are designed to meet the unique needs of each organization; and perks and benefits offered to support business operations and extend their operating runway, to include, for example, up to 12 months rent‐free office space for graduates, and $10,000 in AWS credits and technical support.
Living Labs are community‐based test beds, established to demonstrate, evaluate and validate next‐generation technologies and services. They provide a venue to safely tackle real‐world problems; develop new capabilities; de‐risk investments; enhance training capabilities; and better understand how people will use, benefit from, and be affected by new technologies and services.
The program leverages these venues to support startup commercialization efforts, and to provide regional resources to attract and engage leading high‐tech companies seeking to launch new urban technology solutions. Through the Living Labs network, Smart City Works will develop pilot projects for companies to demonstrate, test, and validate their capabilities, products, or services. Armed with the results of these activities, companies confirm technical viability, better demonstrate market product fit, and speed early market adoption.
Along with our government, university, and private sector partners, we build a community to expand a sustainable innovation cluster that attracts talent and capital to the region. By providing investment and pilot opportunities for emerging technologies that make our region smarter, more sustainable, and resilient in a broad range of sectors (including but not limited to cyber-security, energy, fintech, biotech, housing, health, water, transportation, food systems, broadband, infrastructure, and public safety).
Together we stimulate economic development that benefits the entire community—especially for historically underserved businesses - helping to solve some of the region’s most pressing urban challenges.