The LGBTQ business owners are raking in the money. The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce reports that the 1.4 million businesses in the U.S. have contributed an eye-popping $1.15 billion to the American economy.
Like other underrepresented individuals in our country, many have turned to entrepreneurship out of necessity when hostile workplaces have excluded them. One in four people identifying as LGBTQ have reported experiencing employment discrimination within the last five years.
Transgender people have three times the unemployment rate as the general population.
In 28 states, queer people can be legally fired for their sexuality, and in 30 states, transgender employees can be legally fired for their gender identity.
Entrepreneurship can provide a way out of unwelcome employment--though we know that road isn't all sunshine either.
That's why we should all ensure LGBTQ business owners are able to connect with the resources, opportunities, supplier diversity certifying agencies and networks they need to be successful. Here are resources to consider sharing with founders:
This collection of resources for LGBTQ entrepreneurs are specific to the company's stage of growth, industry and location. The bundled tools include critical elements of business planning such as funding, mentorship, discounts and opportunities in one place curated by my company HelloAlice.com.
This nonprofit connects and educates LGBTQ entrepreneurs to empower great leaders and businesses. Their goal is to create jobs and prosperity for LGBTQ individuals and for the local communities in which they do business, and to be recognized and respected for our contributions. I highly suggest you join the networking events in your city to make important connections for your business.
This venture capital fund and accelerator led by Arlan Hamilton and Christie Pitts supports underrepresented founders in local programs around the world including those who identify as LGBTQ. If you are looking for equity based funding, pay attention to the process and patterns Backstage utilizes to find awesome companies.
This association provides certification that can bring you significant supplier diversity contracts. Certified LGBTBEs are routinely sought after by National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Corporate Partners who are looking to increase their spend with the LGBTQ business community through an internal, proprietary database.
The LGBTQ community of founders is growing fast, brining jobs and innovation to our country. It is our job to help them be successful and ensure we create an inclusive community for everyone.