Live blog session 2: Inside the beltway – supporting your start in DC
(chair) Spencer Mahony, Regional Director, South East (US), UK Trade Investment
Matt Erskine, Greater Washington Board of Trade
Jack Bienko, Deputy Director, Small Business Administration (SBA)

The session aims to provide an overview of the digital sector in DC and the surrounding area. I’ll be live blogging the session here. But also follow #dm2dc.

Context: we’re talking here about the Greater Washington area.

Selling the region
This region has been more resiliant in the last few years than other areas. Highly educated and internationally connections. Steady upward growth. Second only to San-Hose and San Francisco of product per capita (2009).
Diverse: you may think it’s a government town, but the fastest growth areas are professional services and health & education, it has led the country for the professional business sector. One in five of employees is foreign born, one of the major regions for female executives. Top in the US for education – second only to Boston for number of university degrees awarded – ie. the area is producing and attracting talent.
Innovations and entrepreneurship – number one region for Inc 500 companies for the last thirteen years.
Global – ‘most dependable air service’ on the east coast. You can get to 60% of the US geographic economy in two hours or less.
Quality of life: 66th in the world for cost of living
Learn more:

Here’s the full deck, with thanks to Matt Erskine for allowing me to upload it on to Scribd.

The Small Business Administration (SBA Gov)
Our real work is done via relationships – including using digital tools, says Jack Bienko.
The SBA deal in four C’s

  • Capital
  • Contracting
  • Couselling
  • Catastophe’s – natural and manmade

The SBA has helped incubate the venture capital industry, including the likes of HP right at the beginning. Look into the SBIC Program – small business investment program.
Also look into
SBIR – Small Business Innovation Research
STTR – Small Business Technology Transfer Program

A small business in the US is considered to be 500 or less, 10 or less is considered to be a micro business. There are also some specialist status for firms as women owned, veteran owned and minority owned.

The SCORE program where you can access experienced individuals and business leaders for advise and answers to your questions.

Also worth being aware of StartUp America – a new Obama initiative.

We’re now going into a Q & A

As a British business should you incorporate or go into a partnership, particularly given the ‘buy America’ tendency for the US government at the moment?
Jack – online you can almost predict where the government is going:
Fed Biz Opps – government contracts and procurement site
USA Spending – past spending – what are different agenceis buying, where are the going

‘Buy USA’ is less restrictive than the perception, says Matt Erskine. The threshold for the government buying USA made products and services, isn’t quite as restrictive as appears, particularly for friendly countries such as the UK.
Intelligence – warfare buying is still very strong, for example
Take a look at the priorities being given by the government, for potential opportunities.

Entrepreneurship and Visas? Are there incentives from DC to come to set up business here?
What you find is that there are opportunities and incentives particularly if companies are going to grow employment and increase investment in the area. But for small business there are tailored packages – see

Our goal at is to create a one-stop-shop, central location, for you to get help and be connected to the right people, companies, universities and more in the area.

Thanks to Matt and Jack given by Sam – agreed, a really useful session.