AED Fosters Startup Ecosystem with Innovative Position

May 7, 2024


Over the past year, Arlington Economic Development (AED) has been investing in the startup ecosystem and supporting tech entrepreneurs to assist high-growth businesses that call Arlington home. One way AED supports the tech ecosystem in Arlington is with our new Startup Ecosystem Manager position that was filled in early 2024 by Tally Wolff. As startup ecosystem manager, Wolff is responsible for creating connections and relationships between startup founders and tech ecosystem resources such as university entrepreneurship programs, startup accelerators, investors and more and developing programs for the startup community.

Looking at the economic landscape coming out of the pandemic, we saw that the biggest opportunity was to double down on our well-regarded tech ecosystem in Arlington,” said Michael Stiefvater, Director of Business Investment. “While we have all the ingredients of a strong ecosystem, there remain gaps in the connections between the numerous organizations and partners across the region.”  

The Startup Ecosystem Manager position was created to address this opportunity and help build connections between different groups in the tech ecosystem. Wolff started in her new role in January 2024 after working to support startups in various capacities during her career. Her previous job experience in global social impact, supporting entrepreneurs at the local level and working for a startup prepared her well to shape this new role at AED.   

“Tally has an impressive background in building relationships and making connections, which has already proved fruitful in her first few months,” said Stiefvater. “I’m excited to see how she molds the position over time and what the impacts will be for Arlington’s startups.” 

In her first months as the startup ecosystem manager, Wolff has taken inventory of what’s working and what needs improvement in Arlington’s startup ecosystem. Arlington already has a strong talent pool, a great location close to federal government partners and investments, access to local universities with entrepreneurship and tech programs and a good quality of life. Areas that could be improved are collaboration across the broader DC metro area, support for startups navigating the resources in the area, more access to angel investors and networking events for the startup community. 

After completing this assessment, Wolff is now working with ecosystem partners to create events that foster a stronger sense of community and build a peer network for early-stage founders. She’s also focused on making connections between ecosystem resources and the founders that need them. Another aspect of her role, includes helping to find opportunities that Arlington can fund through the Arlington Innovation Fund. Partnerships with the Citrine Angels and Unstuck Labs are already supporting entrepreneurs right here in Arlington.

“We’re incredibly well positioned with Arlington’s startup ecosystem to compete on a global scale. I hope that in 3-5 years, our ecosystem support through the Arlington Innovation Fund and the Startup Ecosystem Manager position will show a significant increase in startup activity,” said Stiefvater. 

If you are part of the startup ecosystem in Arlington or the DC Metro area and would like to connect, please contact Tally Wolff.