We all have our favorite part of the city, but last week the best of DC was far from the nation’s capital. The District’s makers, entrepreneurs and innovators were all at Austin’s SXSW, showing the world what inclusive innovation looks like.
The action was at the WeDC House, a collaboration between Events DC, the city’s convention and sports authority; the Washington DC Economic Partnership (WDCEP) and the executive office of Mayor Muriel Bowser. As the face of conventions, sports, entertainment and cultural events in the nation’s capital, Events DC used the time at SXSW to showcase the diversity and creativity that define the spirit of our city. Here’s how it they did it:
You might be interested to know who exactly represented our city. Don’t worry – our reputation was in good hands. Ambassadors included:
- DC-based chef Tim Ma of Kyirisan, the electrifying French – Asian fusion restaurant
- Brett Schulman, CEO of Cava Group, Inc., the lunchtime favorite for Mediterranean fare
- Area musicians including (but not limited to!) MAGIC GIANT, Rare Essence and The Peace & Body Roll Duo BOOMscat
- Michael Schlow of Alta Strada City Vista and Casolare, area staples for Italian food
- Eric Hilton from Thievery Corporation, DC’s recording artist and DJ collective
Other representatives from DC included ambassadors from tech and creative companies like Achieve Agency, Black Dot Films VR, 8i software, co-working space cove and design studio ICRAVE. The WeDC House also hosted live broadcasts from the Newseum and panels on topics including esports, inclusivity and supporting diverse entrepreneurs.
Esports Get Sponsors
One of the most cutting-edge innovations discussed was Events DC’s exclusive sponsorship of esports team NRG Esports. This sponsorship is the first of its kind and speaks to the swift growth of the esports industry. For those not in the know, esports describes the recent evolution in competitive gaming that transforms video games into a spectator sport.
Enthusiasts enjoy traveling to attend live competitions as well as viewing tournaments and team play from home. Due to the games’ virtual nature, they haven’t had strong geographic associations to this point but Events DC’s sponsorship of NRG Esports could change that, creating a model for other cities to follow.
The panel at the WeDC House discussed the economic ecosystem of esports and explored how, similarly to traditional sports, esports can spark tourism and create demand for industry-specific infrastructure.
Washington, DC garnered further attention from the success of the official SXSW Music Showcase at Austin City Limits’ Moody Theatre, which was put on by Events DC. Wu-Tang Clan headlined the concert, which and was the most RSVP’d event at SXSW and the first completely sold-out performance SXSW has ever hosted. Not even past stars like Green Day, Bruce Springsteen and Kendrick Lamar pulled numbers like that.
Big players in the DC Music scene like Thievery Corporation graced the stage too, as did “the first lady of neo soul” DJ Lo Down Loretta Grown (Erykah Badu) and MAGIC GIANT, a band fronted by DC-born Austin Bisnow. Even DC native Wale made an appearance during Rare Essence’s go-go set.
You probably know that living in DC is awesome, but you might not realize exactly how awesome our city is.
- DC topped Forbes list of America’s Coolest Cities in 2014
- It was The Healthiest City in the Nation for 2016 according to the American Fitness Index
- DC was named Bon Appétit’s 2016 Restaurant City of the Year
Beyond the fancy titles, DC leads all U.S. cities in opportunities for women in tech, with women filling more than 40 percent of tech jobs, and ranks as Inc.com’s number two locale in the country for fastest growing private companies. By sharing the “what,” “why” and “how” behind these accomplishments, Events DC and its partners inspired others follow our model for inclusive innovation.
“At SXSW, it was Events DC’s goal to promote our city,” says Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC. “The vibrancy emerging from Washington, DC is unparalleled – and Events DC wants to help reinforce our nation’s capital as a great place to start a business, live, visit and play.”