MY VIEW

The importance of LGBTQI+-owned businesses

BY JOHN FLEMING
Posted 6/21/22

Diversity is the hallmark of our national identity. It comes in many forms: gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, culture and socioeconomic background. All contribute to a unique experience and view of the world. Bringing together people of various backgrounds with different life experiences provides unique perspectives. Everyone has their own way of viewing situations shaped by their individual experience.

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MY VIEW

The importance of LGBTQI+-owned businesses

Posted

Diversity is the hallmark of our national identity. It comes in many forms: gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age, culture and socioeconomic background. All contribute to a unique experience and view of the world. Bringing together people of various backgrounds with different life experiences provides unique perspectives. Everyone has their own way of viewing situations shaped by their individual experience.

Diversity empowers groups to find unique solutions and improves intergroup understanding. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) Pride Month, and all year round, I encourage small business owners in the mid-Atlantic region to continue to embrace inclusivity so that people of all backgrounds feel safe and welcomed.  

On Thursday, June 30 at 1 p.m., in celebration of Pride, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will host a live webinar panel with the SBA’s Washington Metro Area district director Larry Webb; Justin Nelson, the co-founder and president of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and small business owner Rachel Kalenberg of Pizza Carrello in Gillette, WY.  

The discussion will focus on financial wellness and the importance of equity and opportunity to help uplift and support LGBTQI+-owned small businesses across the country. The panel will also discuss SBA initiatives and resources—those of our community partners—that support LGBTQI+ entrepreneurs seeking to launch, pivot and grow in a post-COVID world.

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce has offered LGBT-owned businesses certification since 2004, and is the exclusive, third-party certification body verifying that eligible businesses are majority-owned by LGBTQI+ individuals. The certification, LGBT Business Enterprise® (LGBTBE®) requires a business be at least 51 percent owned, managed or operated by an LGBTQI+ person, and the business must be independent from a larger non-LGBTQI+-owned business.

All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. SBA’s support of, or participation in this event is not an endorsement of any product, service, or entity. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least four days in advance of this event. Email reasonableaccommodation@sba.gov with the subject header “ACCOMMODATION REQUEST.”

John Fleming is the SBA Mid-Atlantic regional administrator.

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