The Stafford County Economic Development Authority has received a $75,000 grant from GO Virginia to assess the market demand for a cyber and smart tech entrepreneurship program.

Partners in the project include Stafford and King George counties and the city of Fredericksburg.

“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.

GO Virginia is an economic development initiative by Virginia’s senior business leaders to foster private-sector growth and job creation through state incentives for regional collaboration by business, education, and government. Stafford is part of Region 6 – the Mary Ball Washington Regional Council.

This investment leverages 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 Testbed for “smart city” technologies by the Virginia Center for Innovative Technologies.

The Stafford Department of Economic Development and Tourism is launching the program with RIoT, a North Carolina-based nonprofit and the largest Internet of Things (IoT) organization offering entrepreneurial development programs around the world.

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.”

The project is set to launch in July and will include opportunities for entrepreneurs to participate in networking events, seminars and workshops, lunch-and-learns, and competitions. Events will be held across the Fredericksburg area and will engage businesses, non-profits, and educational institutions.

John Holden, director of Stafford Economic Development and Tourism, adds, “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.”

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