Last night over 50 Ward 5 business owners, entrepreneurs and community leaders met at San Antonio Bar and Grill in Brookland. The meeting was organized by Coucilmember Kenyan McDuffie’s office to offer a platform for networking, mingling and idea sharing. CM McDuffie gave a short speech in which he stated that small businesses are a top priority for him. He stressed the importance of striking a balance between helping sustain old businesses while attracting new ones as well, and helping small businesses benefit from new developments across the ward. Mc Duffie noted the need to diversify Ward 5 business offerings in order to stop dollars from flowing across DC borders to Maryland and Virginia. He also made a point to acknowledge major retail corridors such as Rhode Island Avenue and North Capitol Street as targeted areas to focus resources on. Lastly, he stated that the DC government needs to change the dynamic of disproportionately supporting big developments over small businesses. There were several guest speakers, notably, a representative from the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation (GWHCCF). Their Small Business Assistance Program offers small grants and funding for small business, one-on-one assistance and workshops. This meeting will likely be the first of a series of meetings for small business owners.