WASHINGTON, DC – Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, is proud to continue its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by supporting small minority-owned local businesses as part of a complimentary membership program.
“As a member-based organization dedicated to fostering economic development through tourism, we are committed to engaging with the local community and fostering the revitalization of a sustainable tourism and hospitality industry in Washington, DC, with a focus on equity and inclusivity,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, President and CEO, DDC. “By actively supporting local businesses through our marketing channels and enhancing their visibility to customers, we not only raise awareness among visitors and meeting planners about the array of services offered by small businesses in our own backyard, but also contribute to the preservation of local culture.”
The DEI Business Fellowship program supports local businesses owned by people of color, LGBTQ+, women, veterans and disabled persons. Fellows receive a free, one-year membership to DDC, which provides access to marketing support, new business opportunities and networking. The 2024 DEI fellows are:
Convention Service Providers
AIR Consulting – Storyteller specializing in creating films, documentaries, social media content, ads and promotions
Andrew Roby Events INC – Corporate event and experience producer
Booked by Blaze DJs – Five-star rated event DJ service available in nine states and DC
Cash Bash Cupcakes – Baker offering cupcakes in dozens of flavors for events
Damien Carter Photography – Wedding, portrait and lifestyle photography
District Sitter – Reliable childcare solutions for meetings and conferences
Flave App – App that helps users finds local food specials and rewards them for food photography
Fingers in Ink, LLC – Stationery boutique specializing in fine invitations, imported papers, premium printing and graphic design services
Homemade in DC – Corporate catering and custom gift boxes all sourced locally from women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs
Ìpàdé – Meeting and event space located in Dupont Circle
Jus Paul Music – Provides interactive Go-Go music lessons that gives people the opportunity to experience the official music of the nation’s capital
TerRiBelBlue Catering – Specializes in Filipino cuisine
The Ugly Cake Factory – Black-owned bakery specializing in cupcakes and cakes
The Guest House – A private, luxury hospitality space designed for leadership retreats, executive trainings, team-builders and corporate lodging
Inner Loop Transportation – Car service featuring a luxury fleet of vehicles available for daily travel including airport transfers, hourly service, corporate events and dinners, sporting events, wine tours, shuttle service for company office parties and twilight tours of Washington, DC
Dining, Food and Beverage
2FiftyTexas BBQ – Local smokehouse with a Central-Texas-Style BBQ and a bit of the tropics
As You Are – Café by day, bar and dance lounge by night in a safe and celebratory space for the LGBTQIA+ community
Bo and Ivy Distillers – Creating small batch spirits in Ivy City
Casta’s Rum Bar – Cuban rum bar and beer garden in Dupont Circle
DC Sweet Potato Cake – Bakery specializing in cakes and pies that use sweet potatoes as the main ingredient.
Elfegne Ethiopian Cuisine – Caterer serving authentic Ethiopian cuisine, vegan and meat dishes and a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony
Glassey – Serving Indian Street food and cocktails
Kitchen Savages – Restaurant serving great food and culinary training experience for at-risk young people as a way to provide a safe environment to learn life skills
Mama’s Kitchen – Woman-owned pizza shop
Melange & Doro Soul Food – Serving award-winning burgers and authentic soul food
Miss Toya’s Creole House – Serving creole cuisine and features a private dining room
Planta Restaurant – The 100% plant-based menu features Chef David Lee’s favorite dishes from across Asia
Spicy Water African Grill – West African restaurant that serves authentic Ivorian food
Mozzeria – Deaf-owned restaurant specializing in wood-fired Neapolitan pizza
See & Do
11:Eleven Gallery – Art gallery specializing in UK contemporary and urban works
Anacostia Arts Center – Home for arts, culture and small business in the heart of Anacostia
Anacostia Business Improvement District – Supports a thriving and diverse commercial district for Anacostia
Bailiwick Clothing Company – Online clothing boutique that specializes in t-shirts, sweatshirts and accessories with designs that represent Washington, DC
Creative Flavor Art & Entertainment – Ice cream shop featuring creative flavors and group painting classes
Lee’s Flower Shop and Cards – Floral designer and supplier for all occasions and events
Mahogany Yacht Charters – Premium daily yacht charters on the Potomac River with views of DC’s historic landmarks
Morton Fine Art LLC – Offers a diverse roster of international artists with a focus on art from the African and global diaspora
Neighbors DC LLC – A community-rooted marketplace and creative hub showcasing makers and artisans in vibrant spaces throughout the DMV
Petworth Cigars LLC – A Black-owned and woman-owned cigar bar and lounge
SCOUT Bags – Founded in Georgetown, SCOUT Bags focus on all-weather “life proof” bags available in many sizes and patterns for both the consumer and corporate orders
Skin Beauty Bar – Spa services like facials, waxing, sugaring and airbrush tanning on Capitol Hill
Spirited Tours – Hosts fun and memorable wine tasting events in DC and Northern Virginia
Sycamore & Oak – Retail village with a variety of local makers and artisans in a 600,000+ sq. ft., mixed use sustainable space
Take Care – Holistic spa and retailer of natural skincare, beauty and wellness brands
Wired Cycling – Offers group biking classes, private coaching and private bike rental by the hour
“As a new business fellow and member of DDC, my hope for Neighbors DC LLC is to disrupt the status quo of what it means to build and nurture a community, establish a reputation of excellence, and inspire other businesses and entrepreneurs we work with to aim high,” said Enica J. Barnes, founder and owner of Neighbors DC LLC. “I want to establish meaningful, long-term connections that do more than give me a seat at the table but ownership of the whole house.”
“Being a DDC business fellow allows me and my team to work with experts who understand intimately what our ideal clients are looking for. It directly connects us to those clients plus a network of supporting professionals to ensure we offer the best service possible to organizations coming to DC to host their events. The membership allows for the company to grow while also supporting the DC economy,” said Andrew Roby, Event producer, Andrew Roby Events.
DDC’s mission and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion also includes the American Experience Foundation (AEF), its 501c-3 nonprofit focused on providing scholarships and career experience to local students. In 2023, AEF surpassed $130,000 awarded in scholarships over the past eight years. The scholarships support students on their journeys in hospitality and tourism through higher education.
DDC is also uniquely positioned to share with visitors Washington, DC’s history and experiences connected with racial and social equity. The “DEI District” launched in 2021 and provides curated content focused on how DC can be experienced through a DEI lens. The pillars include visit, engage, learn and meet while connecting to content related to leisure, meetings and education audiences to help promote the unique history and experiences in DC.
One of the most inclusive and accessible cities in the world, Washington, DC prioritizes initiatives to eliminate barriers and to meet the needs of all visitors. DDC features and will be expanding on content for washington.org that highlights accessibility and provides resources.
The article Destination DC welcomes 45 mew DEI Business Fellowship members first appeared in TravelDailyNews International.