12 Sources for LGBTQ Entrepreneurs


Welcome to Breaking the Blueprint — a weblog collection that dives into the distinctive enterprise challenges and alternatives of underrepresented enterprise homeowners and entrepreneurs. Learn the way they’ve grown or scaled their companies, explored entrepreneurial ventures inside their corporations, or created aspect hustles, and the way their tales can encourage and inform your personal success.

The LGBTQ group is small however mighty, contributing trillions of {dollars} and 1000’s of jobs to the economic system every year.

Regardless of this, LGBTQ people nonetheless face marginalization. The group continues to struggle in opposition to historic and present systematic discrimination, which might current limitations to attaining fairness and equality — even when making an attempt to begin or develop a enterprise.

Whereas progress is gradual and never all the time linear, the excellent news is there are various sources supposed to assist in giving LGBTQ entrepreneurs a leg up. We’ve assembled a listing of a few of the greatest on the market, which may help LGBTQ enterprise homeowners thrive by means of peer networking, instructional and management coaching, mentorship, and funding alternatives.

Sources for LGBTQ+ Entrepreneurs

1. NLGCC (Nationwide LGBT Chamber of Commerce)

The NLGCC, the Nationwide LGBT Chamber of Commerce, presents the one third-party certification for LGBTQ+ companies within the U.S. Should you full their program and develop into a Licensed LGBT Enterprise Enterprise®, it opens the door to a brand new world of gross sales, networking, and academic alternatives.

Authorities our bodies, and lots of companies, have provider range necessities — and acquiring a certification like this could put you within the procurement pipeline. The group additionally presents many instructional and networking alternatives, occasions, and sources.

2. StartOut

This nonprofit exists to help LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and assist them speed up development.

Sources embrace occasions, mentorship matching, a startup accelerator (StartOut Growth Lab), and even entry to enterprise capital. StartOut has a number of chapters all through the U.S. with member networks and occasions, although if there isn’t one close to you, the group presents on-line occasions.  

3. Out Professionals

This group is considerably much like StartOut, although it’s extra of a enterprise community for all LGBTQ+ professionals, not simply entrepreneurs.

Out Professionals has a membership program with chapters throughout the nation that maintain networking occasions, and the group is open to folks beginning chapters in areas with out them. These may be supreme locations for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs to attach with potential purchasers or companions. Members will also be included in a web based listing and attend instructional webinars.

4. Gaingels

Discovering capital to launch or develop a enterprise is difficult for any entrepreneur, however it may be particularly tough for these in marginalized or under-resourced communities.

Gaingels was shaped in 2014 as an angel investing group that focuses on serving to LGBTQ entrepreneurs entry capital, and it’s a wonderful useful resource for startups searching for funding. One other agency to contemplate is Pipeline Angels, which creates capital for entrepreneurs who determine as cis or trans ladies, non-binary, two-spirit, agender, or gender non-conforming.  

5. Out & Equal

Whereas Out & Equal primarily focuses on supporting range and equality at massive companies, it additionally presents fellowships and profession improvement coaching applications for LGBTQ+ leaders.

The group additionally supplies coaching on LGBTQ inclusion within the office, and its annual World Summit brings collectively enterprise leaders to share greatest practices. Additionally they provide quite a lot of on-line group engagement teams for many who need to join with like-minded LGBTQ folks (some present ones embrace bi+, LGBTQ+ folks of colour, and transgender & nonbinary folks).

6. Lesbians Who Tech & Allies

As soon as geared towards lesbians, this group is now extra broadly open to anybody within the tech business who identifies as an LGBTQ+ lady, non-binary, trans, or an ally.

Lesbians Who Tech focuses on getting extra ladies, folks of colour, and queer and trans folks in know-how. The group additionally works to create visibility, foster group, and supply profession and academic alternatives, reminiscent of coding scholarships. Their annual summit is an unbelievable alternative for LGBTQ entrepreneurs to study and community.

7. Out Management

This group advocates for LGBTQ+ equality within the office. Along with educating corporations on learn how to be extra inclusive, Out Leadership presents a world enterprise community and applications for LGBTQ+ management. Entrepreneurs who need to hone their craft can apply for OutNEXT, a improvement program for rising LGBTQ leaders, or OutWOMEN, for connecting LGBTQ+ ladies in enterprise.

8. SBA Useful resource Companions

The U.S. Small Enterprise Administration (the SBA) presents a great deal of free resources, together with a number of accomplice organizations that help entrepreneurs. These aren’t particularly for LGBTQ+ people, however the SBA has been vocally affirming and supportive.

One useful resource funded by the SBA is its Small Business Development Centers, that are situated nationwide and supply free enterprise consulting, coaching, and help. One other SBA-supported useful resource is SCORE, which matches entrepreneurs with free enterprise mentors who may help you begin, develop or transition a enterprise.

9. Your Native LGBT Chamber of Commerce

The NLGCC is the one nationwide LGBTQ chamber of commerce, however its affiliate community incorporates metropolis, state, and regional LGBTQ chambers throughout the U.S. Review their list of affiliate chambers to see if there are any close to you.

These organizations are networks of LGBTQ-owned and allied companies and entrepreneurs, and turning into a member plugs you right into a community of friends. Members are additionally included in directories, which helps with advertising and marketing and alerts that you just’re in, or supportive of, the group. Native chambers normally additionally host many networking, social and academic occasions for members.

10. Out in Tech

Out in Tech is obtainable to a broad viewers of LGBTQ folks working in know-how, and its 40,000 members are tech leaders throughout the U.S. The group has 32 chapters worldwide, that includes networking, training, social occasions, and a management coaching institute. Out in Tech additionally supplies volunteer alternatives, such because the Digital Corps, which helps construct web sites for LGBTQ+ organizations and activists.  

11. Reaching Out

Reaching Out was created to attach LGBTQ+ enterprise college college students with communities of alumni. It has a number of conferences, together with Out Girls in Enterprise, that brings collectively LGBTQ+ ladies within the enterprise group.

LGBTQ entrepreneurs with MBAs can be a part of this nonprofit and take part in year-long programming that helps construct a community of MBA college students, alumni, and company companions.

12. Stanford Govt Management Program

If you wish to uplevel your management, contemplate signing up for this week-long program hosted by Stanford’s enterprise college. Hosted in particular person in California for every week in June 2023, members discover ways to excel as an LGBTQ+ enterprise chief, enhance interpersonal and communication abilities, and construct a powerful peer community. This system is exclusive in that it teaches attendees how their LGBTQ+ id is a energy to leverage within the enterprise realm.

You’re By no means Alone

Whereas these are a few of the prime sources for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, it’s removed from an exhaustive listing. There are numerous extra on the native degree and in particular industries. LGBTQ folks typically expertise isolation and discrimination, however know that our group is filled with fellow entrepreneurs you’ll be able to join with and dedicated angel buyers, nonprofits, and authorities companions desperate to help you.

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