DMV CEO

8 Entrepreneurs Reveal The Unique Side About Being an Entrepreneur in DC, Maryland & Virginia

Being a DMV(DC, Maryland and Virginia) entrepreneur comes with loads of benefits making it unique to run a business in any of these states.  DC has diverse working communities implying that the state has fresh ideas booming that companies can utilize to build a thriving business. From virtual reality to filmmakers, there’s more that DC has to offer that fosters a collaboration of various industries. Maryland on the hand has its economy mainly supported by small businesses, a clear indication of favorable conditions to run a business in the place. Virginia’s proximity to Washington DC and accessibility of major highways as well as airports facilitate maximum productivity. Additionally, several research facilities enable the advancement of technology which is an important element for the success of any business today.

Here’s what entrepreneurs had to say about the unique side of running a business in the three states.

#1- Opportunities and friendly environment

Photo Credit: David Cawley

Despite being surrounded by some major US cities, Virginia itself is full of small (and growing) cities and towns. We’ve found that many of the state’s small cities are very small business-friendly and provide opportunities to start new businesses or help grow those in their infancy. For entrepreneurs and business owners looking to start of grow their business, I always encourage taking advantage of some of the resources made available by their local counties and municipalities to see what opportunities may be available that one may not consider otherwise. Most local governments have a small business development center that can assist entrepreneurs with business plans, incorporation, securing funding and providing many other insights.

Thanks to David Cawley, Fraim, Cawley & Company, CPAs!


#2- Diversity of the client landscape

Photo Credit: Sara McCord

I’ve lived in small towns where there are one or two large employers, or one or two industries that dominate the local business scene. Conversely, in this area, there are numerous businesses across several different industries with the budget to work with entrepreneurs and consultants. Whether you want to work in a certain niche, or are industry-agnostic, you can find clients in this area.

Thanks to Sara McCord, Sara McCord Communications!


#3- The important 3M’s in great supply

Photo Credit: Liz Sara

The DC metro area has become an ideal community for startups of all types – technology, consumer, food & beverage and everything in-between. Here’s why: it has the important 3M’s in great supply. Money. Everyone knows the first main ingredient needed by every startup (after the awesome idea, of course) is capital. This region now has more than 10 angel investor groups with high net worth individuals, many of whom are former entrepreneurs, that invest their own money in the next big idea from tech to tea. Additionally, pitch competitions with prize money abound – from The Vinetta Project to Hera Hub as well as from the entrepreneurship centers at University of Maryland, Georgetown and George Washington University. Mentors. Most startup founders have deep experience in a single area but lack fundamental business expertise. No problem here. An abundance of incubators and accelerators abound, from privately-funded ones such as Halcyon to those run by local governments with networks of former business executives ready to offer coaching and advice. Add to that mix the plethora of shared workspace companies that offer workshops and mentor matchmaking to attract startup founders to their office space. Market. High per capita incomes make the consumers in the region prime buyers of the next new thing. The federal government and the many successful companies serving that sector represent ready market buyers of innovation for their own deployment and use or simply to differentiate.

Thanks to Liz Sara, National Women’s Business Council!


#4-Example and impact

Photo Credit: Lee Gimpel

As someone who provides meeting facilitation training in Washington, DC as well as in Maryland, and Virginia, I’m struck by two aspects of the region that make it unique for entrepreneurs. First, DC often sets an example for other areas. For example, if I work with a national association in DC, it’s a model for similar client organizations in each state or region. This allows entrepreneurs to replicate what they do in a way one wouldn’t see in other areas. Second, there’s a lot of impact that starts in the DMV region. Where other areas have non-profits, businesses, or agencies with local concerns, clients here work on a national or international scale. As a result, the work you do – even with a small client – can go a long way to changing the world.

Thanks to Lee Gimpel, Better Meetings!


#5- Fast access to federal and government agencies

Photo Credit: Bunny Young

What I find the most beneficial about being located in VA is that for working with federal agencies and government agencies I am 45 minutes away from where all of the action is and so I typically can get face to face meetings rather than just phone calls as well as to have access to all the buzz before predictions get published online. Being a part of the community is incredible because despite being 2 states and DC, everyone knows everyone and so once you get a good reputation then the word of mouth referrals are endless and quality!

Thanks to Bunny Young, A Better Place Consulting!


#6- Cultural diversity

As CEO’s in the DMV, we appreciate the cultural diversity and the sense of community the area offers. What’s unique about being business owners here is that the people who live here really support local business owners. More awareness is coming to small, black, female-owned businesses like ours and we truly feel supported. The support drives us everyday and we are honored to grow our business here.

Thanks to Nekol & Kia, Glamourina!


#7- Abundance of resources

Photo Credit: Gabby Beckford

Being a 24-year-old solopreneur and CEO in the DC-Metro area means an abundance of resources. The people who live in this region are often affiliated with the federal government or military which not only means they often have establish careers and business acumen to share, but that they have very vast networks. I find that living in this area means that if I’m looking for someone who knows about XYZ, I probably know someone who knows someone who knows about it!

Thanks to Gabby Beckford, Packs Light!


#8- A number of things

Photo Credit: Dan Sondhelm

Washington DC is a great place to grow a business. As a leading financial marketing and PR firm, you would think New York would be the place to be. But we are off-the-beaten-path in the 6th largest region in the US. We have a highly educated workforce, stability of the federal government and access to the associations that lobby for investors. There are plenty of financial professionals and companies here. We also have a wide range of cultural activities that we can engage with and give back such as the Kennedy Center. Incidentally, we can get to NY in just three hours.

Thanks to Dan Sondhelm, Sondhelm Partners!


What’s special about being an entrepreneur in DC, Maryland & Virginia? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

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