“Mayor Bowser Unveils DC’s Comeback Plan”

photo by Ron Cohn

From the Mayor’s Office:

“Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) unveiled DC’s Comeback Plan. The Comeback Plan is a tool for setting DC’s economic development goals for the next five years, and it centers around making Washington, DC a place for successful businesses, opportunity-rich neighborhoods, and thriving people.

“This is a comeback that is focused on equity. This is about making sure we have the revenues to support our world-class city services, our robust network of social programs, and the resources – like our schools and rec centers – that keep people in DC,” said Mayor Bowser. “People stay in and come to Washington, DC because they want to change the world – because they recognize DC as a place where you can bring big ideas to life. Our comeback is about unlocking the full potential of our people, our neighborhoods, and our businesses.”

The Comeback Plan sets six goals to achieve by 2028:  

Create 35,000 new jobs in high-growth target sectors, which will include increasing apprenticeship programs and filling gaps in training and credentialing;  
Increase the share of minority-owned employer businesses to 33% of all employer businesses;  
Increase access to opportunity for residents and eliminate key amenity gaps (food, housing, and internet) across all neighborhoods;  
Add 15,000 residents to the Downtown population by adding seven million square feet of residential units;  
Retain current residents and reach a population of 725,000;

Increase economic prosperity in DC by lifting the median household income of Black residents by $25,000.  

The plan serves as the District’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and will be submitted to the U.S. Economic Development Administration in the Department of Commerce, enabling the District, local nonprofits, and universities to pursue certain types of federal funding. Reaching the goals in the plan will require action–building better education to workforce pathways, bringing amenities and assets to all eight wards, and attracting businesses. The District has tools and programs to make this possible. 

One new tool the District is using to attract businesses is the Vitality Fund. The Vitality Fund is a new multi-year, performance-based incentive program designed to support existing companies in target industries actively planning to relocate, expand, or retain their physical location in Washington, DC. It will encourage employers to locate in DC and create jobs, bringing the city closer to our job creation goals in high-growth sectors, including technology. Expenses such as rent, tenant improvements, down payment assistance, workforce training, and recruitment can be covered with the program funds. 

The Vitality Fund influenced Virtru Corporation, an innovative cybersecurity company and the first applicant of the program, to stay and grow in DC. This support further strengthens DC’s tech ecosystem, particularly the cybersecurity sector. It also creates new high-wage jobs and opportunities for DC residents and keeps our downtown vibrant and small businesses thriving. DMPED, in collaboration with the Washington DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP), will continue supporting the relocation and expansion of Virtru in the District.  

“As we pursue our goals to revitalize Downtown DC and bring 35,000 new jobs in high-growth sectors, the Vitality Fund will be a critical tool,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “We are thrilled to help Virtru grow in DC. It’s a win-win. The companies benefit from our incredible talent, amenities, and city services, and we win by creating jobs for our residents. This is exactly what Mayor Bowser meant when she said, ‘You win by winning…every day, every project, every initiative.'”

DC natives John and Will Ackerly founded Virtru in 2012 in the District, where it will remain headquartered. Virtru has been an advocate for DC since the beginning, including representing Washington at SXSW in 2015, and scaling up data security and privacy services for many of the District’s most prominent organizations. With more than 30 full-time employees in DC, about half of whom are District residents, Virtru expects to grow its local workforce exponentially over the next five years and beyond.    

“There’s no place in the world like Washington, DC, and we are thrilled to be expanding Virtru’s headquarters in our new office space on Pennsylvania Avenue,” said Virtru CEO and Co-Founder John Ackerly. “Virtru operates at the intersection of business, policy, and driving positive societal change — so there’s no better place for us to continue growing and scaling our business. In partnership with local vendors — DC’s best and brightest — we are designing our new headquarters with innovation, collaboration, and community in mind. We are proud to create a space for our customers and the community to connect with our team as we build a brighter future for data privacy and security, together.” 

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