Penn West Nurtures Tech Talent in DC’s Downtown with Sponsorship to BuildWithin

September 27, 2023

The Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID) yesterday announced its award of a sponsorship of up to $200,000 to enable BuildWithin to expand workforce development programs within the Penn West Equity and Innovation District (Penn West).

Headquartered in Penn West, BuildWithin’s programs foster equitable workforce development by offering apprenticeships to train DC residents for new career paths and by connecting employers to emergent talent. The Penn West sponsorship will enable BuildWithin to expand its programs to serve more DC residents and businesses.

The sponsorship is funded through a grant to catalyze Penn West that the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) provided the Golden Triangle BID last year.

“BuildWithin’s commitment to providing its apprentices with access to training and pathways to high-quality jobs is closely aligned with our vision for Penn West as a place where innovation and prosperity are available to everyone,” said Leona Agouridis, President of the Golden Triangle BID. “BuildWithin has been an integral part of the Penn West Equity and Innovation District for some time now, and we’re thrilled to support their growth as they scale their important workforce development programs in DC.”

The award was announced during BuildWithin’s fall 2023 graduation event. Bringing together nearly 200 regional leaders, community members, and employers, the event celebrated BuildWithin apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship graduates, 70 percent of whom reside in Wards 7 and 8. The celebration also recognized over a dozen employers from the DC, Maryland, and Virginia regions.

Ximena Hartsock Gates, co-founder and CEO of BuildWithin is a changemaker in DC’s tech ecosystem and became an early partner in Penn West. The Golden Triangle BID hired one of BuildWithin’s first apprentice graduates in 2022.

“At BuildWithin, our vision is a world with zero job vacancies and full employment, where individuals of all ages and backgrounds have the opportunity for fulfilling careers and economic security. A world where employers can focus on innovation and not struggle through skills shortages and lack of retention,” said Ximena Hartsock Gates. “To achieve our vision, collaboration from both public and private sectors is essential to promote innovative on-the-job training. The Penn West Equity and Innovation District is poised to empower DC residents in concrete ways, and on an accelerated timeline. We are so grateful to the Golden Triangle and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development for leading the way in supporting skills-based innovation.”

BuildWithin’s location in Penn West, within the Golden Triangle, offers proximity to federal government agencies and the White House, as well as international development organizations, such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, International Finance Corporation, and the European Union Delegation. The Golden Triangle has a growing presence of universities, startups, and fast-growing tech companies ready to scale, making it the ideal location for an inclusive and collaborative innovation hub. The premier area is characterized by a mix of office buildings, unmatched walkability and public transit, and access to the country’s leading tech talent.


About Penn West

The Penn West Equity and Innovation District in Washington, D.C., is an inclusive, collaborative innovation hub for big ideas and groundbreaking technology dedicated to solving for a more sustainable, equitable and vibrant future for everyone. Through a dynamic group of partner entities including the Golden Triangle BID, The George Washington University (GW), DC government, and the Washington DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP), Penn West aims to become the world’s premier destination for uniting technology with public policy, equity, and social impact. For more information, visit and follow Penn West on LinkedIn.


About the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District

Formed in 1998, the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID) enhances Washington, DC’s central business district, the 44-square-block neighborhood stretching from The White House to Dupont Circle. For more information, visit and follow the BID on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.