The Stafford County Economic Development Authority in the state of Virginia has received a $75,000 grant from GO Virginia to assess the market demand for a Cyber and Smart Tech Entrepreneurship Program. The project is scheduled to launch in July and will include opportunities for entrepreneurs to participate in networking events, seminars and workshops, lunch-and-learns, and competitions.
“This grant allows us to implement a recognized entrepreneurial development program while learning how we sustain a program in the future,” said Joel Griffin, chairman of the Stafford EDA.
The program is expected to leverage Stafford’s existing cyber and information technology business community to develop smart technologies based around the Internet of Things. Downtown Stafford has been identified as a model test bed for smart city technologies by the Virginia Center for Innovative Technologies. Plans for the area include experiential retail experiences, an operations center to test and evaluate new technology, and a wide range of equipment and sensors to help save energy usage, provide critical information to first responders during emergencies, and monitor pollution.
The Stafford Department of Economic Development and Tourism is launching the program with RIoT – a North Carolina-based nonprofit and Internet of Things (IoT) organization which offers entrepreneurial development programs. Partners in the project include Stafford and King George counties and the city of Fredericksburg.
Tom Snyder, Executive Director of RIoT, said, “We believe that by connecting entrepreneurs and startups to the right educational and industry resources, the greater Stafford region can be a national center of excellence for cybersecurity.”
John Holden, Director of Stafford Economic Development and Tourism, said, “Stafford has been and is expanding as a location for cyber technology firms and is developing a testbed for smart city technology to serve as a model for Virginia. Both of these factors compliment the opportunity this project represents to foster new tech-based companies.”