After two years of COVID-19, the DMV and its coworking spaces are teaming up for the area’s economic recovery. Today, coworking giant WeWork announced a huge investment for local founders.
The national coworking chain, which boasts multiple locations in and around DC, will invest $16.3 million in regional office space for entrepreneurs. The funds will be put towards space for founders at WeWork’s locations at Metropolitan Square, 200 Massachusetts Ave. NW and Midtown Center in the district, as well as its 1775 Tysons Blvd. outpost in McLean, Virginia.
The funds are part of the conglomerate’s national Growth Campus program, which launched last month in New York City before going national. The program, WeWork said, is designed to boost post-pandemic economic recovery by providing resources to startups, founders and nonprofits. Once accepted, members receive mentorship options, programming for success and networking. They can also obtain virtual acceleration support and access WeWork Labs, the company’s digital platform for connecting members. On top of the 11 locations in New York City, the company is committing $4.8 million towards spaces in Boston, $8.8 million in Chicago and $5.2 million in Los Angeles.
In order to qualify for the program, startups need to be based in one of the participating cities, founded within the last five years and have under 100 employees. They also need to be in the bootstrapped or pre-seed funding stage. Eligible startups must additionally have either pre-revenue status or under $2 million in turnover. Nonprofits founded within the same time period that have B Corp certification are also eligible.
With the WeWork funding, the company and district officials said they hope to reverse some of the losses in office space and founders that the move to remote work begat.
“DC is the District of comebacks, and one of the ways that we’ll come back is attracting and supporting more tech entrepreneurs to collaborate together again in the unique setting that only WeWork can provide,” said John Falcicchio, DC’s deputy mayor for planning and economic development, in a statement. “DC is proud of its tech culture, which is fueled by the most highly educated talent pool in the country, and where we have been recognized as a top city for women and Blacks in tech. If an innovator has an idea for the Feds, Eds or Meds, they need to be in DC and we’re excited WeWork is offering this Growth Campus opportunity to do so.”
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