Pride Month is a celebration of many things — equality, empowerment, and solidarity among them. From the day the nation’s first Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) rights organization opened in 1924 to the moment Equator Coffees became the first LGBTQ+ owned business to be recognized as the SBA’s Small Business of the Year in 2016 — and every day since — these values have served as a driving force on the road to progress and unity. As America continues its embrace of diversity and inclusion, the SBA stands ready to support LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs this June and beyond.
According to the most recent data from the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the LGBTQ+ business community includes 1.4 million business owners. And by their projections, the NGLCC estimates that LGBTQ-owned businesses contribute over a trillion dollars to the U.S. economy. The SBA aims to bring continued economic success and growth to the LGBTQ+ small business community. With nearly 80% of LGBTQ+ businesses expected to make a full recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022, there has never been a better time than now.
LGBTQ+ Inclusion and Outreach
The SBA’s Network for LGBTQ+ Businesses is a strong support system that seeks to unlock the great potential of the LGBTQ+ small business community. The SBA constantly conducts outreach to be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ business owners, and our staff encourages greater inclusion at all levels and in all communities. Additionally, a plethora of SBA services and resources are available to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. It all starts with SBA district offices, many of which have a strategic alliance with the LGBTQ+ community. A quick search can help you find the one nearest to you.
LGBTQ-Owned Small Business Certification
If you are interested in certifying your LGBTQ-owned business, the NGLCC can help. Their certification program gives companies access to hundreds of corporate contacts, which can lead to strategic relationships and opportunities at NGLCC networking events across the country. Certified businesses are often in high demand by NGLCC Corporate Partners seeking to increase their spend with the LGBTQ+ business community. Plus, certification opens the door for scholarship programs, mentorship and training opportunities, and other business development tools after one year.
Did you know that the SBA and its Resource Partners offer free or low-cost counseling and training to entrepreneurs across the country? Through Small Business Development Centers, the SBA provides individualized entrepreneurial services that address unique needs. Through SCORE, small business owners can connect with business mentors in their area. Veterans Business Outreach Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and Community Navigators are also standing by to give small business owners the tools they need to succeed.
Underserved and underrepresented entrepreneurs have historically faced barriers in accessing the funds they need to start or grow their business. In recognition of this, the SBA has established SBA-backed loans that reduce risk and make it possible for business owners to match with approved lenders. Use Lender Match to find an SBA-backed loan today.
A more inclusive marketplace is one where all business owners can thrive. In the spirt of Pride Month, the SBA is proud to help deliver on this promise for the LGBTQ+ small business community.
Original Source: The U.S. Small Business Administration