"movements are created by the people willing to take risk"
Before I was entrenched in the massive amounts of work that a public private partnership entails, I would have casually perused a newspaper and not given the term a second thought. That’s changed.
Not too long ago, on the heels of the inauguration, a group of DC stakeholders, affiliates of the city, and of Howard University met at the Akwaaba Bed and Breakfast (featured in the image above). What was the topic for discussion? Progress, innovation and supporting entrepreneurship.
How did we get such incredible, diverse, and accomplished people in one room? The answer was synergy. Every person in that space realized the investment to be made in innovation, in entrepreneurs, in the city of Washington, DC, was not about them. It was about the people who needed someone else to believe in them, invest in their ideas, and create a pathway to opportunity. It was not just about pushing our own agendas but fervently making an effort to understand, support, and create an ecosystem that makes a private public partnership really mean something.
As a member of the Inclusive Innovation incubator team, I was excited to share how much the project has meant for us as a company, and it was meaningful to have the representation on both the University and City sides of partnership to echo the same excitement.
What ultimately I understood in being surrounded by influencers of the city of DC was that movements are created by the people willing to take risk, to openly invest in ideas that go against the status quo. In an effort to remain honest allow me to say here that while Diversity may be the buzzword of the hour, truly investing in it is still not the norm.
Now picture me standing in a room in a historic bed and breakfast, owned and operated by Monique Greenwood, a key supporter of the efforts of In3, former editor in chief of Essence magazine, and current John H. Johnson Chair for Entrepreneurship at Howard University, steps away from the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, shoulder to shoulder with undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty and staff at Howard University. In that room was were the folks behind Howard University's HowUInnovate, a university wide effort to reinvigorate entrepreneurship. I was in essence, standing among all of these incredible people in a picturesque yet literal representation of public - private partnership.
In that room, I finally understood how incredible it is to be a part of something that connects the private sector, with the public good, and the strength of academia. I knew then that In3, more than ever before, was going to impact DC for the better. The Inclusive Innovation Incubator isn’t about me, it’s about us, it’s not about one entity or another, but about the collective effort to merge the energy and resources of all involved to truly make a difference. This partnership is one that seeks to create vibrancy and connectivity between the district’s resources, it’s residents, it’s college students, and it’s universities in a way that’s never been done before.
For More Information On (In3) Inclusive Innovation Incubator: In3dc.com.
For Membership Information: www.In3DC.com/memberships
For Sponsorship Information: www.In3DC.com/sponsorships