Washington, DC Brings “The Capital of Inclusive Innovation” to South by Southwest (SXSW)

District Makers, Entrepreneurs and Innovators to Showcase DC’s Diverse Music, Tech, Innovation and Culinary Scene

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2017 — Washington, DC is committed to becoming the number one city for inclusion. Collectively, the Washington DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP) in collaboration with Events DC, the city’s convention and sports authority, and Mayor Muriel Bowser will continue its first-of-its-kind collaboration at the WeDC House at South by Southwest (SXSW). The collaboration will showcase DC as the “Capital of Inclusive Innovation” by celebrating the best of its diverse tech and innovation community and its creative economy.

From programs that fuel underrepresented entrepreneurs to the rise of its popular food scene, the District continues to personify what it means to be a global and cultural powerhouse. Last year, DC was ranked as the Best City for Women in Tech, number two for Best City for Tech Jobs in the Country, Restaurant City of the Year, and the fourth Best Place to Live in the Country.

Washington, DC’s values are embodied in our diverse neighborhoods and our ability to support underrepresented entrepreneurs, and it is these same qualities that make us the capital of inclusive innovation,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “At SXSW, we will once again showcase why Washington, DC is the best city to invest in and why our population is the highest it’s been in 40 years, with almost 1,000 people moving to DC each month.”

The WeDC House will host 23 WeDC Ambassadors to represent the District and further the ultimate goal at SXSW of expanding the city’s technology sector, promoting DC’s innovative startup community and fostering new partnerships among the local and national business communities. WeDC Ambassadors are District-based entrepreneurs and innovators selected as representatives from the DC business community to provide firsthand perspective on DC’s thriving tech startup, creative, innovation, food and music industries.

DC’s acclaimed and diverse culinary scene will also represent the District’s status as a food destination at SXSW. Renowned, DC-based chefs Tim Ma of Kyirisan, Brett Schulman, CEO of Cava Grill and Michael Schlow of restaurants including Alta Strada City Vista and Casolare will all host activations within the WeDC House in Austin.

“As a chef, I’m happiest when I’m putting out good food for good people,” says Kyirisan Chef/Owner Tim Ma. “DC is where my wife Joey and I grew up, where we’re raising our family, and where my restaurants are. We have this amazing community of brilliant, talented people from all walks of life that keeps me inspired every day, and I couldn’t be more honored to represent our city – my hometown – at SXSW this year.”

Representing the District’s thriving cultural and entertainment scene, DC natives Thievery Corporation will be joined by DJ Lo Down Loretta Brown aka Erykah Badu and multi-platinum rap icons Wu-Tang Clan to headline Events DC’s Official Music Showcase at SXSW. The Grammy-nominated artists will hit the stage on Tuesday, March 14 at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theatre in downtown Austin for one of the most anticipated performances at SXSW.

“With our roots based in Washington, DC, we couldn’t be more energized to represent the District, the capital of inclusive innovation at SXSW,” said Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation. “From the world’s first sounds of Go-Go to its historical influence in jazz – DC sounds echo around the globe – playing a vital role in the building blocks of popular music.  And just like that – our sound is about including styles from around the world to create innovative and inclusive music.”

The music headliners will be joined on the iconic Austin stage with a host of diverse DC home-grown and DC native bands selected to join the Showcase,  including MAGIC GIANT, Rare Essence and Backyard Band with Reesa Renee and Ras Nebyu, Ari Lennox, Mathias and more.  In addition, more than 300 bands were nominated to represent DC’s thriving music scene through a contest promoted by Events DC and Brightest Young Things (BYT), a DC-based media company. The contest winner, BOOMscat was announced during the WeDC SXSW Kickoff Party at the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square and will perform in Austin at the WeDC House alongside other DC-based bands and DJs, as well as DJ Trauma, Dave Chappelle’s tour DJ and Real Estate.

“As the official convention and sports authority, Events DC is committed to supporting the District’s creative and tech communities – as they are vital components to the continued success of our city’s local footprint and growing economy.  At SXSW, it is Events DC’s goal to promote our city as a great place for people to visit and live – we do so through our efforts as a leading sports and entertainment capital, cultural and culinary center as well as a world-class tourism destination,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC.  “With recent accolades such as Coolest U.S. City (Forbes Magazine), Fittest City in the U.S. (American Fitness Index) and 2016 Restaurant City of the Year (Bon Appétit), the vibrancy emerging from Washington, DC is unparalleled – and Events wants to help reinforce our nation’s capital as a great place to start a business, live, visit and play.”

As the face of conventions, sports, entertainment and cultural events in the nation’s capital, Events DC, along with the WeDC Initiative, focuses on showcasing the diversity and creative hub of DC to residents and visitors alike. Events DC hosts, supports and produces some of the District’s most renowned events, with the goal of continually attracting unique entertainment options to Washington, DC – as well as being a driver for the city’s economic engine.

“As the city with the lowest gender pay gap and a top destination for black and female owned businesses, WDCEP is proud to showcase DC’s vibrant and inclusive business community with the WeDC House at SXSW,” said Keith Sellars, CEO + President of WDCEP. “WDCEP’s goal is to highlight why DC is a top destination to do business and how all entities can thrive in a way that aligns with their values. DC’s community of entrepreneurs and business leaders in tech, creative, arts and music are solving global challenges head on. The WeDC House provides a tremendous opportunity to share how DC is providing the resources, access and programs to support local, national and international companies and foster inclusive innovation.”

WDCEP, in conjunction with the WeDC Initiative, is committed to building pathways to business success. The WeDC initiative acts as a cornerstone campaign to assist local entrepreneurs from all eight wards in expanding their networks, gaining international exposure, and fostering business development in a concentrated, high-touch environment that supports and strengthens growth efforts all year round.

The WeDC House at SXSW, and the broader WeDC Initiative, serves as a platform to elevate DC and DC businesses at the world’s foremost gathering of innovators, artists and technology leaders. The WeDC House provides the city with a unique opportunity to demonstrate why it has earned a track record for being a cultural hub and the premiere spot in the country for tech and social entrepreneurial ventures.

Several recent milestones point to DC as an inclusive innovation leader, including the following:

  • DC leads all U.S. cities in opportunities for women in tech – with women filling more than 40 percent of tech jobs;
  • DC ranks as the number two locale in the country for America’s fastest growing private companies by Inc.com;
  • DC ranks number four among the Top 10 best cities for diversity in STEM by SmartAsset.Com;
  • Releasing the District’s first-ever “Pathways to Inclusion” report, outlining specific goals to becoming the nation’s premier hub for technology inclusion, including creating 5000 new tech jobs for underrepresented workers, creating 500 new tech businesses founded by underrepresented entrepreneurs and fostering the most inclusive culture among tech ecosystems on the East Coast;
  • Announcing In3, the District’s first-ever inclusive innovation incubator. Set to open in April, the space will support entrepreneurs and businesses from underserved and underrepresented communities.

As the prominent fixture in SXSW’s city-specific activations, the WeDC House, located at East 2nd Street, Austin, Texas, is returning for its third year to tell the story of how DC is working to become the capital of inclusive innovation and the premiere place to work, live, play and do business in the country. The WeDC House will feature programming including live-stream discussions with the Newseum, official SXSW panels with some of the most prominent women in DC tech and an eSports tournament. Additional activations will be announced with the selected music showcase bands at the kickoff event.  The House will be open from March 11, 2017 to March 13, 2017.

For more information on the activation, visit www.wedchouse.com. For more information about WDCEP’s activation at SXSW, please visit www.wdcep.com.

About Washington DC Economic Partnership
The Washington DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP) is a non-profit, public-private organization whose core purpose is to actively position, promote, and support economic development and business opportunities in Washington, DC. WDCEP facilitates economic development through business attraction and business retention programs and activities, including site location assistance, educational seminars and workshops, and networking events geared towards building jobs and increased tax revenues for the city of Washington, DC. WDCEP is a key resource for Washington, DC economic development information and publishes several reports throughout the year, including the DC Development Report, DC Doing Business Guide and Neighborhood Profiles. For additional information, please visit www.wdcep.com.

About the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) is charged with executing the Mayor’s economic development strategy. When it comes to economic development in the District, there are five priority goals that will help build the Pathway to the Middle Class. With guidance from Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development will protect, preserve and produce more affordable housing in the District, support innovation and entrepreneurship, and drive investment and development, particularly to overlooked and underserved communities.

About Events DC
Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, deliver premier event services and flexible venues across the nation’s capital.  Leveraging the power of a world-class destination and creating amazing attendee experiences, Events DC generates economic and community benefits through the attraction and promotion of business, athletic, entertainment and cultural activities. Events DC oversees the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, an anchor of the District’s hospitality and tourism economy that generates over $400 million annually in total economic impact, and the historic Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square. Events DC manages the Stadium-Armory campus, which includes Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and surrounding Festival Grounds, the non-military functions of the DC Armory and Maloof Skate Park at RFK Stadium.  Events DC also built and now serves as landlord for Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States. The most recent addition is Gateway DC, an innovative and versatile space featuring a covered and open-air pavilion in the center of a 1-acre park, conveniently located in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC. For more information, please visit www.eventsdc.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Emily Rasowsky, WDCEP
(702)858-8299, erasowsky@wdcep.com