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Yoga, cupcakes, fashion, and the interminable DC job search were brought together Tuesday evening during The Internet Association’s (IA) Dupont Circle Small Business Crawl highlighting the profound impact of the internet on jobs, economic growth, and innovation on Main Street. The Internet Association represents the interests of some of the leading internet companies in the world, including Google, Airbnb, Amazon.com, eBay, LinkedIn, Yahoo!, and Facebook.

In the spirit of DC Social Media Week, IA facilitated a walking tour through some of the most successful independent businesses in Dupont circle. The event was attended by several local leaders including representatives from the Mayor’s office, the DC Chamber and the small business community.

The tour took participants to Tranquil Space Yoga Studio, Lou Lou Boutique, Hello Cupcake Bakery, PoliTemps Staffing Agency, and Proper Topper Boutique where each local merchant welcomed the group with stories of how the internet and social media has positively impacted their business. With help from Twitter, Facebook, and general blogging, these independently owned businesses have been able to grow their presence in Washington, for free.

While each merchant represented entirely different aspects of the small business world, their organizations have flourished as a result of sharable, digital media. The spike in business resulting from digital outreach made it possible for Lou Lou to open more locations and employ more people throughout the DMV area. Hello Cupcake was able to branch out to Barracks Row, from where they will also be shipping their treats throughout the United States.  PoliTemps staffing agency is now able to connect a broader range of jobseekers and employers, and Tranquil Space Yoga was able to increase class participants by offering Groupons and Living Social deals. All of this growth represents more jobs for more people and overall economic growth—all thanks to a savvy use of digital media tools like Facebook and Twitter.

The IA Small Business Crawl was a great opportunity for local leaders to see how policies promoting the free flow of information via the internet are directly related to economic growth. Every one of the merchants we met on Tuesday said that their business has shown measurable growth due to the positive impact of digital media, which is helping them stay competitive with large, better funded corporations.