District’s First WeDC Fest Showcases Talent, Diversity and Innovation
Three-Day Local Conference Closes Out in the Capital of Inclusive Innovation
The District’s first WeDC Fest, a three-day conference to celebrate collaboration around technology, social impact and the local creative economy in the Capital of Inclusive Innovation, provided an array of opportunities for local businesses, entrepreneurs, investors and government leaders to showcase their talents, diversity and inclusiveness in the District of Columbia; the event was free and open to the public.
WeDC Fest was presented by the Executive Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser and powered by Pepco and Exelon. The conference, September 26 – 28, had over 1,900 attendees across 64 unique events and sessions that included 211 local speakers and 90 exhibitors held at three venues in Downtown, DC: Pepco Edison Place Gallery, National Union Building and National Building Museum.
Programming was driven directly from a public call for submissions to the Washington DC Economic Partnership and the event was made possible through collaboration with public and private sector leaders including foundational partners, Pepco and Exelon; Pepsico; and Gelberg Signs.
“WeDC stands for we the people of Washington, DC,” said Keith Sellars, President & CEO, WDCEP. “Having the ability to showcase our local talent, diversity and innovation is truly remarkable and we are proud to build on a platform that puts an emphasis on the communities, residents and businesses. We look forward to continuing to promote and invest in the city with activations like WeDC Fest.”
During WeDC Fest, $125,000 in major grants were announced from a variety of partners; Pepco, an Exelon Company, awarded a $65,000 grant to Jubilee Housing to support their “Innovative Housing Pilot Resiliency Program,” to fund battery storage systems at their Maycroft affordable housing property in the Columbia Heights neighborhood while presenting the “WeDC Connected Communities” award to Think Local First, for supporting the long-term success of local businesses through education, advocacy and connection.
Additionally, BEACON DC, launched in November 2016 to support women entrepreneurship, awarded $50,000 to female-owned technology companies and Black Girl Ventures, which creates access to capital for Black and Brown female founders, provided $10,000 grants to women minority owned female led tech companies. The Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) announced over $2M in total grant funding allocated in FY2018 during the WeDC Innovation Marketplace.
For more information about WeDC Fest, visit www.wedcfest.com or contact the Washington DC Economic Partnership at (202) 661-8670. Follow WDCEP on social media @wdcep.