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This article is sponsored by Arlington Economic Development.

Last Thursday, April 4, Rosslyn hosted the 10th Annual Norwegian-American Defense Conference at the House of the Norwegian-American Defense and Homeland Security Industry Council (NADIC).

This event not only marked a significant milestone in transatlantic relations but also underscored the escalating presence of Norwegian defense enterprises in the U.S. market amidst mounting global security challenges

The conference theme, “Industry as Deterrence,” held particular significance as it coincided with the 75th anniversary of the signing of NATO in Washington, D.C., on April 4, 1949. Norway, as one of the 12 founding members of the alliance, remains steadfast in its commitment as a key ally and partner to the United States.

This dynamic presents substantial opportunities for the defense industries of both nations. With Norway relying on imports for approximately 70% of its defense equipment, U.S. firms are strategically positioned to secure a considerable portion of Norwegian defense imports. Ambassador of Norway to the U.S., H.E. Anniken R. Krutnes, highlighted this, noting Norway’s plans to increase defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2026, emphasizing Norway’s exemption from “Buy America” provisions.

Throughout the conference, governmental officials from both the U.S. and Norway outlined policies, funding priorities, and collaborative areas within the defense sectors. Industry leaders shared insights into business engagement strategies and successful approaches to interfacing with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Given the region’s strategic location, it is no surprise that Norway’s two largest defense contractors have both selected Northern Virginia to base their U.S. operations, with Kongsberg Group in Alexandria and Nammo in Arlington. Nammo’s President and CEO, Morten Brandtzaeg, mentioned that the company is very pleased with its office location in Courthouse, as it is easy for the company to engage with its industry partners, such as RTX and Kongsberg, as well as Pentagon officials.

Heather Armentrout, President of Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace USA, advised Norwegian companies on the importance of establishing local partnerships and presence to navigate the U.S. market successfully. The House of NADIC in Rosslyn serves as an ideal entry point for Norwegian firms, offering office and meeting spaces, alongside invaluable connections, expertise, and opportunities for engagement.

According to the NADIC website, the organization’s objective is to, “develop and strengthen cooperation between Norwegian and American industries, continuously search for opportunities, and facilitate stronger bilateral ties, while encouraging a fair competitive environment in the U.S. market.” The organization represents 90% of the Norwegian defense and industrial base, and this annual conference has become one of the most important bilateral defense summits between the two nations.

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This article is sponsored by Arlington Economic Development.

Arlington Economic Development is pleased to support the inaugural Accelerate Breakfast Series, a funding opportunity for Arlington’s startup community.

Hosted by George Mason University (GMU) and Fairfax County and building on the momentum of GMU’s Accelerate Conference (Oct. 23–24, 2024, in Arlington), the Accelerate Breakfast Series will unite entrepreneurs and investors by offering a curated platform for pitch opportunities and expert guidance.

At each event, five high-potential companies will take the stage to present their ventures to a group of early-stage investors. During these presentations, companies will have opportunities to emphasize crucial aspects of their business models, growth trajectories and distinctive value propositions. Companies selected to participate will receive coaching and support from seasoned business leaders to hone their pitches and maximize impact before the actual pitch events.

To qualify for the pitch event and coaching, applying companies must actively seek seed-stage capital ranging from $500,000 to $2 million and be open to accepting investment. Eligible startups must be based in Virginia, Maryland or Washington, D.C.

Applications are open until March 22, 2024. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to showcase your startup. Visit the program landing page for more details and to apply. The first pitch event will be held in McLean, Virginia on April 12 at 7:30 a.m.

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This article is sponsored by Arlington Economic Development’s Business Investment Group.

Arlington Economic Development (AED) recently partnered with Citrine Angels, the largest female-focused angel investing organization in the mid-Atlantic region pledged solely to the support of women-led ventures.

With a shared goal to boost female-led entrepreneurship and startup activity in Arlington, AED and Citrine Angels are launching the Elevate Your Venture: Arlington Female Founder Series, which will include four free educational events designed to tackle the unique challenges facing entrepreneurs today.

This series and partnership aim to support and positively impact businesses throughout the County and help to counteract inequities and lack of access to capital more commonly experienced by women entrepreneurs and business leaders. It is being powered by the Arlington Innovation Fund, which also provides grant funding for startups to accelerate entrepreneurial growth.

“While Arlington was named the Best City for Women in Tech in 2021 and 2022 by SmartAsset, there remains additional work to increase opportunities for founders,” said Michael Stiefvater, Director, Business Investment Group. “According to a recent Pitchbook report, women founders received only two percent of total capital in 2022 — the data shows that partnerships and series of this nature are essential to businesses and Arlington Economic Development is committed to providing high-level resources via organizations like Citrine Angels.”

“Citrine Angels and Arlington Economic Development share a common goal to support the growth and success of female-founded businesses and increase access to investment opportunities for and by women,” said Stephanie Marshall, Co-Founder and Board President, Citrine Angels. “Programs like the upcoming series are vital to the community as they educate and connect like-minded groups. We look forward to working together to build and support the community and encourage others to join us.”

We invite you to join us for “Is Venture Capital Right For You? the first event of the Elevate Your Venture: Arlington Female Founder Series — at Northeastern University, March 5, 5:30 p.m.

This event, sponsored by AED and powered by Citrine Angels, will feature discussions on whether startup companies should pursue venture capital or alternative funding methods.

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This article was written by Arlington Economic Development.

This week, Arlington Economic Development (AED) announced the first round of Arlington Innovation Fund Catalyst Grant recipients. Accompanying the announcement, AED has opened the application for round two of its Catalyst Grant Program.

The goals of this program are to increase funding for early-stage technology startups through technical assistance and non-dilutive, co-investment grants. These resources help companies extend their funding and gain access to larger venture capital rounds to expand their customer base, employment and operations in Arlington.

Catalyst Grants are designed to benefit recipients and Arlington in myriad ways. In addition to striving to meet the aforementioned goals, the program provides selected startups with a pathway to raise non-County capital that will further fuel their employee and revenue growth. This, in turn, boosts Arlington’s presence as a regional and national tech hub via a commitment to supporting the innovation ecosystem. The program also generates a pipeline of high-growth potential startups that will expand, generating increasing tax revenues over time, and bolsters entrepreneurship within the County, which may generate additional jobs and needs for leased office space.

Catalyst Grants range between $25,000 and $50,000 and have been designed to meet the needs of Arlington-based technology startups that have raised between $25,000 and $1 million in funding.

The Catalyst Grant Program follows a competitive grant process with the following base eligibility requirements:

  • Must be a registered LLC, S-Corp or C-Corp with the Virginia State Corporation Commission and have their principal place of business in Arlington (virtual addresses and P.O. boxes NOT ELIGIBLE)
  • Be a for-profit company
  • Have at least one full-time employee
  • Have raised between $25,000 and $1 million
  • Primary source of revenue must be derived from the sale, licensure or distribution of proprietary technology
  • Be current on all applicable Arlington County taxes

Applications for round two of the Catalyst Grant Program are now open with a deadline to apply of March 10, 2024. Learn more about grant qualifications and how to apply!

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This article was written by Arlington Economic Development.

In the bustling heart of Arlington, local businesses have a unique opportunity to make a meaningful impact on their community by supporting local nonprofits.

One such business partnership at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA) is making a big difference in the lives of animals and the people who care for them. AWLA’s Corporate Animal Care Crew offers local businesses the chance to not only give back but also foster team-building and community engagement. These businesses and organizations play a vital role in supporting our community, and by partnering with AWLA, they can directly contribute to the well-being of animals in need.

The Corporate Animal Care Crew program provides a hands-on experience for teams to actively participate in the daily care of animals at the shelter. This unique opportunity allows businesses to go beyond traditional philanthropy and create a lasting impact through direct involvement.

Participating in AWLA’s Corporate Care Crew program goes beyond a financial contribution. Businesses can witness the immediate impact of their efforts as they work alongside AWLA’s dedicated Animal Care Technicians. From feeding animals to cleaning kennels with a touch of “room service,” volunteers directly contribute to creating a safe and comfortable environment for the shelter’s residents.

In the past, companies like Accenture and Deloitte have spent a day at AWLA, and their employees always leave with smiles on their faces. By participating in AWLA’s Corporate Care Crew program, these companies set an example for others, encouraging a culture of giving back and community involvement.

“Participating in AWLA’s Corporate Animal Care Crew program not only allows businesses to foster teamwork and build meaningful connections within their teams but also offers a unique opportunity to contribute to the welfare of thousands of animals cared for by the League each year,” said Sam Wolbert, President and CEO of AWLA, “Through this hands-on volunteer experience, businesses can invest in their community while providing valuable support to AWLA’s mission, creating a positive impact on both team dynamics and animal well-being.”

You can join the ranks of Accenture, Deloitte and others in supporting AWLA’s mission to ensure that every animal has a chance for a healthy, happy and loving home. “Paws” for a cause and let your business lead the way in making Arlington a better place for all its residents, furry or otherwise.

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This article was written by Michael Stiefvater, Director of Business Investment for Arlington Economic Development.

The continued prevalence of remote work and the high office vacancy rate shifted how Arlington Economic Development (AED) approached business investment in 2023.

While our team still focused on business attraction and retention, the bread and butter of economic development, we also looked at other ways to boost economic growth and innovation in Arlington. While the tech ecosystem has always been a strength in Arlington, this year, we doubled down on investments and programming to support early-stage entrepreneurs on their path to becoming high-growth businesses in Arlington.

Additionally, we looked at ways to facilitate market-based solutions to our office vacancy issue by removing regulatory barriers. Despite the continuing challenges facing the office market and local economies, AED notched numerous substantial accomplishments in 2023.

This year, we saw D.C.-area companies relocating to Arlington to take advantage of our prime location and transit-friendly, amenity-rich environment. We also saw movement in the international market, with foreign companies basing their U.S. headquarters in Arlington to gain easy access to U.S. policymakers across the river in D.C., the region’s plentiful talent, and the abundant flights to Europe.

Here are some of the business investment highlights from 2023:

  • Amazon HQ2
    • In June 2023, Amazon hit a significant milestone in its headquarters development and opened two office towers at Metropolitan Park in National Landing.
    • November 2023 marked five years since Amazon announced a second headquarters location in Arlington, where its’ local presence has been growing.
  • [solidcore]
    • The fast-growing fitness company moved its headquarters from D.C. to Rosslyn.
  • Microsoft
    • The tech giant opened a significant regional marketing and sales hub in Rosslyn in January 2023.
  • Genetec
    • A Canadian biotechnology company opened its U.S. headquarters in Arlington in October with fireworks over the Potomac.
  • Arqit
    • A U.K.-based cybersecurity company opened its U.S. headquarters in Arlington in early 2023.
  • Air and Space Forces Association
    • Announced a move of its headquarters to expanded space in Pentagon City.

AED’s commitment and investment in our local tech ecosystem is perhaps no better demonstrated than with the new Arlington Innovation Fund (AIF). The Arlington County Board funded AIF with $1M in mid-2023 to support growth in the tech ecosystem in Arlington. AIF includes two components: Catalyst Grants and Ecosystem Support. The Catalyst Grant program awards up to $50,000 for early-stage tech startups to extend their funding runway and expand their customer base, employment and operations. AED will announce the recipients of the initial application round in early 2024.

Beyond the Catalyst Grants, AED is building a more robust tech ecosystem in several ways. In September, we partnered with Unstuck Labs, a Rosslyn-based studio that helps startups validate ideas, build products and launch ventures. AIF also funded the George Mason University Entrepreneur–in–Residence Program, which is bringing on-board successful local entrepreneurs to mentor new founders.

This year, Arlington made key changes to create regulatory flexibility and a nimble approach to combat office vacancy through the Commercial Market Resiliency Initiative (CMRI). By removing regulatory barriers and constraints, the County seeks to enable market-based solutions to address the commercial building supply, specifically repositioning and converting obsolete inventory by allowing more types of businesses to use office space. CMRI will continue to evolve in 2024 and focus on five strategic areas: office conversion, repositioning, redevelopment, tenant support and placemaking.

Other highlights of the year included our tech workforce program moving from a pilot program to a full-fledged program, Arlington Talent. The program, in partnership with Exelaration, had a 100% program completion rate, with most participants transitioning to full-time tech employment. Participants’ average pay and work rate increased by 26% and 38%, respectively and future pay and work rate will continue to rise.

As we look ahead to 2024, our 2023 accomplishments will serve as a base to continue to innovate and grow Arlington’s economy.

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This article was written by Arlington Economic Development.

The Arlington Talent Program (ATP) is now accepting applications for its second year of providing paid, on-the-job learning opportunities to Arlington and Alexandria residents interested in launching a career in software development.

The innovative program is a partnership between Arlington Economic Development (AED) and Arlington-based software consultancy Exelaration. It is a new way to address the ongoing challenges of finding tech workers to fill open jobs in the region.

From Learners to Coders

The Arlington Talent Program’s initial year yielded remarkable results, including a 100% program completion rate and 100% received the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) credential. Most participants have transitioned to full-time tech employment with their new knowledge of high-demand program languages (e.g., HTML/CSS, JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, Angular). The average pay and work rate for participants have increased by 26% and 38%, respectively, and will continue to rise as they gain experience and advancement. These achievements represent not just statistics but tangible transformations in the participants’ lives.

“The Arlington Talent Pilot Program offered me a great opportunity to enter the field with no formal and relevant background in IT, in addition to stellar mentorship on real-world projects to gain both experience and theoretical knowledge,” said participant Liam Cespedes, who was part of the first cohort and is continuing work on client projects.

AED and Exelaration designed this program to allow Arlington and Alexandria residents to enter the tech workforce without a college degree or prior tech experience requirements. The competitive pilot program accepted applications from dozens of individuals for each cohort, many of whom showed promise in the tech field but lacked those traditional resume credentials to find work.

AED and Exelaration are proud to have collaborated with partners at Capital Youth Empowerment Program, Bridges to Independence, Alexandria-Arlington Regional Workforce Council, and Virginia Values Veterans to advertise this program and ensure this unique opportunity reached underrepresented and underserved communities.

Applications for the next cohort are open through Nov. 26. Accepted participants will work full-time with Exelaration for 12 weeks beginning on Jan. 23, 2024. For more information or to apply, visit exelaration.com/arlingtontalent.

Opportunities for Businesses

Companies needing IT modernization and custom software solutions also benefit from the Arlington Talent Pilot Program. Companies receive quality work products led by experienced software developers and can save significantly with the blended billable rate by including learners on projects.

Arlington-based Agile technology firm Excella recently partnered with the program to expand one of its federal modernization projects. The Exelaration team works closely with the larger Excella team to upgrade enterprise software within a Ruby on Rails environment. In addition to the modernized software, Excella has the option of hiring learners who are now skilled engineers fully trained in their environment. “Competing for talent is hard, and this program gives us a proven way to add trained professionals to our teams, who help us meet our clients’ mission,” says Excella’s National Security Director, Allison Harvey.

The upcoming program adds more software engineering capacity to take on new company partners. “We especially love to work with Arlington companies, but we’re happy to work with organizations across the country looking to modernize their technology,” says Exelaration CEO Steve Cooper, who adds that the program is looking for additional client companies who could benefit from the work of these budding engineers.

Companies can connect with the program in other ways, too. Arlington Community Federal Credit Union hosted a lunch for the fall team inside their technology shop. This gave the emerging engineers a “day-in-the-life” view of what it’s like to have a tech job. Over kabobs and tacos, Credit Union CIO David Martinez and his team answered questions about the rewards and challenges of IT careers.

Companies looking to partner with the program can learn more here.

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This article was written by Adam Henry, CEcD, EDP, Senior Business Development Manager for Arlington Economic Development.

This November, Arlington Economic Development will be sponsoring the third annual Accelerate Investor Conference at George Mason University’s Arlington Campus.

First launched in 2021, the Accelerate Investor Conference spurs the region’s innovation and entrepreneurship engagement to a new level and showcases the Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. region as a destination for business development, venture investment and job creation. The conference features a pitch competition for DMV startups, a student competition and great networking opportunities to connect with investors from around the country.

Since the announcement of Amazon’s HQ2 headquarters, Arlington and its business community have made great progress in advancing our innovation ecosystem, including:

  • Creation of the $1 million Arlington Innovation Fund
  • $1.6 billion in venture capital raised by Arlington-based companies
  • $2 billion investment in Virginia’s talent pipeline
  • Virginia Tech Innovation Campus and FUSE at Mason Square investments in Northern Virginia
  • Ranked as the third-best tech talent market in the U.S. (CBRE, 2023) and the best city for women in tech (Smartasset.com, 2022)
  • Establishment of Unstuck Labs and ZEBOX accelerators
  • Over 20 coworking providers located in Arlington, Virginia

The Accelerate Investor Conference will take place at George Mason University’s Van Metre Hall in Arlington, November 1-2, 2023. For more information about the conference and to register, please visit acceleratedeals.org.

Arlington Economic Development is excited to be sponsoring the Accelerate Investor Conference in Arlington and sees this as an important component of supporting entrepreneurship in the community and building one of the most dynamic innovation ecosystems in the United States.

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This article was written by Adam Henry, CEcD, EDP, Senior Business Development Manager for Arlington Economic Development.

Last week, Arlington Economic Development (AED) opened applications for the Arlington Innovation Fund (AIF) Catalyst Grant Program.

The Catalyst Grants help increase funding for early-stage technology startups through technical assistance and non-dilutive, co-investment grants from $25,000 up to $50,000. Companies must demonstrate that they have raised a minimum of $25,000, up to $500,000. Once verified, grants will be a 1:1 match up to $50,000 for companies that have raised between $25,000 and $50,000.

Any company that has raised between $50,001 and $500,000 will receive a capped grant of $50,000. An internal committee of AED staff, supported by a third-party vendor, will evaluate all applications and award grants through a competitive process. The base qualifications for the program include the following:

  • Must be a registered LLC, S-Corp or C-Corp with the Virginia State Corporation Commission and have their principal place of business in Arlington (virtual addresses and P.O. boxes NOT ELIGIBLE)
  • Be a for-profit company
  • Have at least one full-time employee
  • Have raised a minimum of $25,000, up to $500,000, through a combination of equity investments, grants and convertible debt
  • The primary source of revenue must be derived from the sale, licensure or distribution of proprietary technology
  • Be current on all applicable Arlington County taxes.

Applications will remain open until October 20, 2023. For more information on the program, the application, and FAQ about the Catalyst Program, please visit the AIF webpage. If your company has questions regarding the Catalyst Grant Program, please contact the AED team at [email protected].

AED is excited to open the application and invite early-stage, Arlington-based technology companies to apply. This program aims to serve the tech ecosystem better and foster the growth of tech startups, allowing them to flourish as office users, employers and taxpayers in the Arlington community.

APPLY NOW!

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This article was written by Adam Henry, CEcD, EDP, Senior Business Development Manager for Arlington Economic Development.

Last week, Arlington Economic Development (AED) in partnership with the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, American Real Estate Partners and Unstuck Labs celebrated the grand opening of Unstuck Labs’ pop-up studio in Rosslyn. This innovative partnership along with support from AED’s Arlington Innovation Fund’s Ecosystem Support Fund will help support new startups in the studio and host weekly events for companies and entrepreneurs to connect and collaborate.

Unstuck Labs is an award-winning digital agency, venture-building studio, and hyperlearning community based in Arlington. Founded by a team of career professionals turned entrepreneurs, Unstuck Labs helps early-stage startups and innovation programs to validate ideas, build products, and launch ventures. Unstuck Labs offers a range of services, including mobile and web development, branding and marketing, pitch decks and fundraising, and advisory and mentoring. Unstuck Labs also runs a 12-week startup studio program that provides hands-on support, deliverables, and perks to selected founders.

In April 2023, the Arlington County Board approved $1 million in funding for the Arlington Innovation Fund. The new program is comprised of two components — Catalyst Grants and the Ecosystem Support Fund.

AIF’s Catalyst Grants help increase funding for early-stage technology startups through technical assistance and non-dilutive, co-investment grants from $25,000 up to $50,000. Applications for the Catalyst Grants will open in the coming weeks, those interested in the program can sign up to receive updates as they are announced.

The Ecosystem Support Fund is a discretionary tool for Arlington Economic Development to support local and regional programming and strategic initiatives focused on advancing the local and regional technology ecosystem.

Arlington Economic Development is excited about its first strategic investment with Unstuck Labs to fuel innovation and boost local entrepreneur programming and networking in Arlington. Investments like these will drive entrepreneurial activity in Arlington and illustrate the community’s support for entrepreneurship and innovation.

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This article was written by Sindy Yeh, Senior Business Ambassador for Arlington Economic Development.

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing industries in Arlington and Virginia. The Commonwealth has emerged as a national leader in cybersecurity and is at the forefront of talent development in the industry.

In 2018, Virginia established the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI), a statewide initiative focused on research, innovation, and workforce development at the intersection between cybersecurity, autonomous systems and intelligence.

CCI is divided into four regional nodes, each a network of highly connected organizations led by an institute of higher education. The Northern Virginia CCI node is comprised of Northern Virginia’s universities and colleges, nonprofits, federal agencies and companies, all sharing a commitment to build capacity in cybersecurity.

One of CCI’s workforce development initiatives is the High School Summer Internship program. It was created to expand the cybersecurity talent pipeline by reaching high school students who are 17 and above and interested in exploring cybersecurity as a possible career option.

2023 CCI High School Summer Interns Visiting Appian Headquarters

The internship includes professional skills training conducted by the Children Science Center followed by placement with Northern Virginia cyber-related organizations to prepare them to enter the cyber workforce of the future. The internship includes a program stipend at the successful completion of the 7-week program and is open to rising high school seniors and rising first-year college/university students.

SHIFT5, one of Arlington’s fastest growing cyber companies, is an industry partner this year. SHIFT5’s software and data platforms defend commercial and military fleets as well as weapons systems against operational failures and cybersecurity risks.

VP of Policy and Government Affairs, Jessica Carroll says, “Shift5 participated in the CCI summer high school internship program in order to support a critical STEM initiative in the Northern Virginia region: connecting highschoolers to tangible, accessible, real-world opportunities to foster curiosity and inspire learning in the pursuit of technology-forward field. We elected to go beyond the traditional coding aspect of such a CCI program and requested that the interns be ‘cyber-adjacent’ so they could work with and within the policy (and regulatory) environments governing the development, fielding, and programmatic implementation of unique emergent technologies such as those operational technology (OT) cyber capabilities unique to Shift5.”

Sara Ahmad, a rising senior at Washington-Liberty High School, was selected to work at SHIFT5 this summer.

“My time at Shift5 was an immensely valuable experience. The welcoming atmosphere fostered a sense of value and belonging right from the start. Despite my limited knowledge of policy and cybersecurity at the start of the internship, everyone at Shift5 made me feel appreciated and included… I also had the wonderful opportunity to meet Congressman Don Beyer, a moment that added tremendous value to my experience. Learning from his extensive expertise across a wide range of issues was truly invaluable.”

Programs like these, combined with Virginia’s $2 million investment in education, ensure Arlington companies will continue to have an impressive pipeline of talent from which to hire.

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