Creating our own stimulus

Painting of iconic Ben's Chili Bowl to be auctioned at INNOVATION & EQUITY
During the eighth annual National Black Business Month in August, we call for 31 Ways in 31 Days to support black-owned businesses. The idea is to create habits which last all year round.
In that vein, we make a point of maximizing the use of black firms during the events we present during the year.
INNOVATION & EQUITY: Spurring Manufacturing Through Innovation in Black Communities is therefore located in the historic U Street district where one can still look up and see the mural of Duke Ellington on the side of the True Reformers building, which houses the Black Civil War Museum.
During the 11th annual symposium of the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology, we’ll highlight the businesses on the street including the Lincoln Theatre, the Jewel on U St. and three of the nearby restaurants, Ben’s NextDoor, Indulj and JoJos.
With innovation as a theme, we can not overlook artistic expression as hometown musical inventor Eric Smith uses his “drumstick” digital percussion synthesized to present the music for the symposium.
We’ll also have an art auction thanks to collector Rodger Robinson, including the works of local artist Kamau (see painting of Ben’s Chili Bowl above) and contemporary sculptures from the African continent including this wood piece inspired by the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
African sculptors conception of President Barack Obama
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Just outside is the new U Street gift shop above Ben’s Chili Bowl, with a whole array of merchandise themed to the history of the region.
The idea is to support the hiring that local businesses achieve when they have sufficient revenues and capital. This is an effect which the startup enterprises we hope to spark during the symposium can have in communities around the country.

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