"Out" for business.
By Justin Nelson, President and Co-founder, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce July 08, 2011 11:50 AM
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)-owned small business community--comprising an estimated 1.4 million enterprises in the United States--has an enormous depth and promise. My job, as president of the 29,000-member National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), is to help them reach their full potential.
Like other entrepreneurial associations, NGLCC focuses on events and educational programs on essential topics for any small business such as how to access financing and develop new clients. But we also deal with issues unique to this group, such as how to certify or identify as an LGBT business and what that can mean for a business and its employees.
Citi has been an important corporate supporter of the NGLCC for more than four years, through sponsorship of our national conference and other events, as well as volunteer leadership support from Citi employees. In early August, for example, NGLCC is hosting our National Business and Leadership Conference, Out for Business, in Las Vegas with support from Citi Community Development.
At our conference, we will debut a feature session called "Roll the Dice," which will pit eager LGBT entrepreneurs and business innovators against a panel of well-known venture capitalists and angel investors. We're excited to connect LGBT small businesses with experienced developers and watch new ideas take off.
Support from Citi helps us ensure this kind of robust programming for LGBT entrepreneurs and the wider small business community sharing common interests. In collaborating with us, we see Citi as also expressing solidarity with the LGBT business community and showcasing a strong commitment to goals of inclusion and equality. We hope to continue our alliance for many years to come.