Show your LGBTQ+ pride as a business or an ally
June is Pride month and small businesses are flying their rainbow flags. There are many ways to celebrate Pride, whether yours is an LGBTQ+ business or an ally – a business that demonstrates inclusion every day.
For LGBTQ+ businesses
If you are a business owner who identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming, there are resources available to you. Two of the largest organizations that provide these resources are the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).
The SBA’s Network for LGBT Businesses empowers LGBT businesses economically by providing them with access to the programs and services offered by the Small Business Administration. The SBA conducts outreach to be more inclusive to this community of business owners. There is a list of local LGBT chambers of commerce on the SBA site as well.
The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is the largest advocacy organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for LGBT people. There are 62 local affiliated chambers throughout the US and around the world. NGLCC is the exclusive certifying body of LGBT-owned businesses.
How to become a certified LGBTQ+ business
If you are a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or non-binary business owner, your business may be eligible to be a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® (LGBTBE). This certification is given by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. To qualify, a business must:
- Be at least 51% owned, operated, managed and controlled by a person or persons who identify as part of the LGBT community (which includes non-binary/gender non-conforming and transgender individuals). They must also be US citizens or lawful permanent residents.
- Operate independently from any non-LGBT business enterprise.
- Have been formed as a legal, for-profit entity and headquartered in the United States.
Certified LGBT Business Enterprises have access to resources from the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. They also have access to contracting opportunities from other businesses that are trying to fulfill their commitment to diversity by contracting with LGBT businesses.
The NGLCC has over 300 corporate partners, which rely on Certified LGBT Business Enterprises to improve diversity in their organizations, support their supplier diversity programs and even improve their score on the HRC Corporate Equality Index. NGLCC corporate partners include IBM, American Airlines, Coca-Cola, General Motors and many more.
To apply, visit the NGLCC website.
Even if your business is not LGBTQ+-owned, you can still show your support – both during Pride month and all year long. Here are some tips:
Make sure you’re supporting diversity in your hiring and vendor relationships. Take care to provide equitable benefits to employees, including domestic partnership and adoption benefits. And be sure your LGBTQ+ employees know that if they come to you with concerns, they will be heard.
Provide diversity and inclusion training to your employees. While this is particularly important for employees who have customer-facing roles, everyone needs to treat co-workers with sensitivity. Better Allies is an organization that promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace and provides some helpful resources.
Spread the word that you’re inclusive. Gayborhood is a directory of local businesses that are LGBTQ+-friendly. Members of Gayborhood can refer businesses they know to be allies, and businesses can sponsor ads and post events on the website.
Whether yours is a LGBTQ+ business or an ally, show your pride in June and all year round!