Jeff Rappaport
12th Grade
Richard Montgomery High School
Rockville, MD
Runner-Up Winner

Washington DC: A Revolutionary Place To Build A Business

    During my final year of elementary school, I joined my class of fourteen students on a field trip across the country to the best place to study American history: our nation’s capital. Over the course of a week, we toured DC’s landmarks, peered up the Washington Monument, enjoyed the many restaurants, and shared the excitement of Washington DC with the millions of families, tourists, politicians, diplomats, and businessmen who are similarly drawn each year to the opportunities of our most important city. The region’s distinctiveness stems from the entrepreneurial spirit that permeates its history. Encompassing more than the tour groups and restaurants my class enjoyed during our trip, this spirit extends back to the first meeting in Philadelphia of the delegates to the Continental Congress during the country’s fledgling years. Sharing the same visionary drive with entrepreneurs today, our founding fathers transformed a dream for the future into a groundbreaking new nation. The Greater Washington Region serves as a testament to their vision for a nation of opportunity, and it serves as the optimal location to honor the perseverance of that entrepreneurial tradition by building and growing a business.

    The founders’ vision for an independent nation would not have been possible had the thirteen colonies not developed a rapidly growing economy to support their initiative. Similarly, regional economic strength is vital for today’s entrepreneur building a new business. The Greater Washington Area provides this foundation of economic stability and growth potential. Today the region maintains the fourth largest metropolitan economy with indicators predicting at least a 3% annual growth of its gross regional product, creating one of the safest environments for local businesses to thrive1. With its proximity to government headquarters, a constant source of employment, the DC area also provides one of the most durable economies in times of crisis. During the economic recession that swept the country at the beginning of the millennium, Washington gained 42,900 jobs between the years 2002-2003, even as most major metropolitan areas saw job opportunities decline2. Its growth stems in part from the region’s dedication to infrastructure investments, with over $30 billion of public and private dollars invested into roads, office space, and public transportation services3. A stable economy coupled with the region’s historical appeal serve to attract millions of visitors annually, expanding markets and building a solid foundation for the enterprising business owner.

    The early success of our forefathers’ struggle for a new nation was largely due to the committed colonists who formed the backbone of the fledgling United States. In accordance with this history of a capable and spirited population, the DC area maintains an unprecedented quality of life and a labor force with the highest median income of any city in the nation4. Such opportunities attract diverse and educated residents. More than 21% of the population over age 25 boasts a graduate or professional degree, the highest rate of education in a US metropolitan area5. Furthermore, with more than double the number of gold-rated schools as the next highest city, the supply of educated labor will continue to grow6. In today’s competitive global economy, these knowledge workers are in high demand. A growing business requires a driven and talented labor force to successfully communicate, organize, and build upon its vision. True to its namesake, Washington leads the nation with such a committed group of individuals.

    An undertaking’s success depends not only on the commitment of its leaders, but also on the fortitude of its interactions with external establishments. The founders’ revolutionary initiative received considerable international attention, and the support from foreign nations proved to be a crucial element of their initiative’s success. Just as the American Revolution benefited from the support of French investors, so too do globally competitive enterprises benefit from connectivity. As members of an important capital city, entrepreneurs from the District of Columbia capitalize on its position in the global spotlight. The region offers growing businesses unprecedented opportunities to network and build new markets. Successful entrepreneurs agree, “It’s not only what you know, but who you know.” In addition to the region’s abundant supply of highly educated and talented workers, the local entrepreneur’s network offers the cutting edge in today’s economy. The Greater Washington Region is home to foreign business owners and investors from around the world and it maintains over 1000 institutions involved in “international business and activities”7. The foreign interest in local businesses and institutions opens new markets at home and abroad, serving as a boon to growing companies in our increasingly global society.

    A growing enterprise carries a deeper significance than a mere personal venture; it stands as a monument to human innovation and progress. Through their success, the visionary leaders of the American Revolution implanted Enlightenment concepts into modern culture and established a nation that embodies these principles. Just as our founders helped build a more advanced and affluent society, entrepreneurs of the DC area lead the nation by promoting and expanding the Green Revolution. Addressing the growing necessity for environmental awareness, DC stands among the leading metropolitan areas with 243 registered LEED projects for 20088. Such efforts to encourage sustainable development have not only launched a campaign of environmental activism, they have also added a new multi-billion dollar industry to the economy9. The opportunities in this new sector attract investors, workers, and entrepreneurs from around the world and encourage further economic expansion by building new markets for green business. In this sector as in many others, the region promises to continue its tradition of societal advancement.

    The summer following my visit to the capital, my family moved to the Greater Washington Area. I joined a community with both a rich history of economic and cultural vigor, and the resources to offer a prime environment for the budding and seasoned entrepreneur. A leader with a vision for the future will find a stable economic base and a dedicated workforce to transform that vision into a revolutionary venture. Our founding fathers and the early colonists persevered to build their vision of opportunity into a nation. As the capital of this “land of opportunity,” there can be no greater place in history than the Greater Washington Region to build and grow a business.

Works Cited
Primary Sources:
1. “Top Job Markets. Job Change Jan 2002-2003.” The Washington Area Economic Outlook 2003. Center For Regional Analysis. .
2. “Educational Attainment 2006. Percent of Population 25+ With Graduate of Professional Degree”. The Washington Area Economy Trends and Forecasts. September 22, 2008. <>
3. “LEED Projects Directory.” US Green Building Council. 2008. .

Secondary Sources:
4. “Greater Washington 2008 Regional Report.” Greater Washington Initiative: Economic Development. 2008. .


1 2008 Greater Washington Regional Report
2 CRA Center for Regional Analysis: “Top Job Markets”
3 2008 Greater Washington Regional Report
4 2008 Greater Washington Regional Report
5 CRA Center for Regional Analysis: “Educational Attainment”
6 2008 Greater Washington Regional Report
7 2008 Greater Washington Regional Report
8 US Green Building Council
9 2008 Greater Washington Regional Report