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Sam: For those of you who don’t know, I’m from North Carolina, and I went to school in the Triangle. One of my biggest N.C. shames is that I’ve never seen Durham-based musical duo Sylvan Essoin person, let alone live in concert.

This weekend, I couldn’t buy tickets (mostly because they sold out v v quickly and I don’t plan that far ahead), BUT I did see them talk at a v small book store in Dupont on Sunday, and I almost cried like 20 million times as they explained the songwriting process, etc.

Here’s hoping all of y’all spent the three-day weekend fulfilling some of your dreams, too! Now, let’s get back to The Beat…

Sam: You might remember last week when I told y’all a bit about the new Ascend 2020 initiative coming from Project 500 and many other community partners. The project also got a lofty $500K investment from JP Morgan Chase.

Today, the group officially announced and launched the initiative at Google’s D.C. office with remarks from Mayor Muriel Bowser and Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity Courtney Snowden.

For those who forgot, I can give you the reader’s digest version of what Ascend 2020 is (but I also suggest looking at the past Beat about it). The initiative is aimed at helping entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities get their small businesses off the ground. Specifically, Ascend 2020 is designed to help entrepreneurs scale their businesses further.

I was at the lunch event today, and while there isn’t much new to report on the actual initiative, I wanted to leave you all with some quotes and thoughts from Mayor Bowser and Deputy Mayor Snowden.

Too often we think about how to help those who have ideas for the “sexy startup” get ahead in Washington that we forget about the small business owner in Ward 5, 7 or 8. That was the general consensus in the room today, and I think these quotes do a good job of summing that up:

“When we give businesses that want to do well the support and the capital they need to be successful, not only will they do just what we need them to do—which is grow economically within the corridors of the District of Columbia—but they will also hire District residents.” —Deputy Mayor Courtney Snowden. 

“When we think about all of the ways that we can continue to be a city that is prosperous—and make no mistake about it, this is the most prosperous time in the history of D.C. government—it is all of our responsibilities to make sure that more people participate in that prosperity.” —Mayor Muriel Bowser. 

Sam: Remember when ClassPass canceled its unlimited class program back in November? (R.I.P.) Well, disgruntled ClassPass users rejoice! A new fitness company is in town with the hopes of providing you with more options than ClassPass currently does. Elisa has more on the story for y’all—

Elisa: Big ups to all those D.C. residents out there who actually work out (instead of throwing on some workout clothes and calling it a day). Thanks to you, D.C. was named the “fittest city in America” for the third year in a row. Your prize? FitReserve, an all-access membership to different fitness classes around the city.

The New York City-based startup launched in D.C. last week, thanks to the District’s large workout and boutique studio market. Members can sign up for monthly recurring class subscriptions for access to different fitness studios around the city, such as yoga, pilates, boxing, etc. Packages range from three classes a month to 20, for the most ambitious of exercisers among us (i.e., not me). Read more: Exercise Lovers Rejoice: A New Fitness Company Just Launched in D.C.

Sam: MemoryWell, a spring ’17 startup at Halcyon, has hired Theo LeCompte as its Chief Operating Officer. LeCompte was previously deputy chief of staff at the Department of Commerce and the Chief Operating Officer for the Democratic National Convention Committee for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination convention in Charlotte, N.C. MemoryWell is a media startup that tells the stories of patients in various health care facilities to give caregivers and understanding of who they are. The startup also won a $130K Launch Award from the WeWork Creator Awards in March.

Sam: Sometimes I lovingly remember the guy, Jimmy McMillan, who ran a political campaign built simply on the notion that the “Rent Is Too Damn High.” Some days, I laugh at how simple his campaign was; others, I nod in agreement—”the rent is too damn high, Jimmy!” I whisper to myself.

Today is one of the latter. RentHop, an online apartment listing site, released a report that shows how much it is on average for a one-bedroom apartment near each metro stop (minus 11 stops where there just wasn’t enough data yet). D.C. rents increased at 61 of the 91 metro stops. At the same time, it dropped at 19 stops. And before I get emails about it—yes, these numbers are medians.

Read more: Here’s How D.C. Rents Compare By Metro Stop [Map]

Sam: Woof, the Tuesday after a long holiday weekend is always so, so difficult. Today is no different. So let’s celebrate making it through the day with some A+ tech events and happy hours, amiright??? On tonight’s agenda: DC Tech Meetup is hosting a casual happy hour starting at 6:30 PM, and Data Community DC’s mentor/mentee happy hour for those in the group looking for support! All the details and more events in the latest Inno Approved.

Sam: Sugar Shack, the beloved doughnut shop, is prepping to open a HIDDEN bar in mid-July at its Shaw location.

Said hidden bar will, also, have “tapas-styled” cocktails.


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Staff Writer: Sam Sabin,

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