Government needs to foster a climate of creativity and technological innovation so that entrepreneurial ideas and start-ups can flourish. That’s the conclusion of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who met Monday with members of a Richmond start-up and tech community that promotes creativity and collaboration. Cantor went to see the workspace first-hand—after hearing of a hack-a-thon where diverse IT professionals met together to solve an urgent computer problem.
804RVA is a business incubator-like place to work independently, brainstorm, collaborate, or confer with experts to advance projects. Cantor compared the often noisy work environment to an ecosystem.“It’s about intellect, innovation, creativity, all coming together in a very organic way—and much like sort of the process that our country was built. You know, it was never easy, it was sometimes sloppy, it wasn’t exact—but continuing to vet ideas, continuing to try and strive to make something better.” Some members said grants, tax credits, or start-up funds would help. Others called for targeted STEM education to fill thousands of hi-tech job openings. Cantor said he’s working now on standardizing and making public a vast stockpile of federal information.“We have just a wealth of information that’s sitting in these old, bureaucratic institutions of government that we’ve got to open up—so that we CAN have more information flow to allow for more innovation.” Cantor also announced a STEM-related Congressional Contest for high school students to create new desktop or mobile apps.