Let’s Talk Business: June 17, 2022

Read this week’s column in The Emporia Gazette here.

Proud to be an LGBTQ entrepreneur? Since June is Pride Month, it’s a great time to remind LGBTQ business owners that there are certifications and resources specifically designed for them.

There are 1.4 million LGBTQ-owned businesses in the United States, and these companies bring in an estimated $1.7 trillion in revenue. But LGBTQ-owned companies often don’t receive the same resources as other companies.

Inclusion in the workplace is still a big problem for LGBTQ professionals. According to a survey by the Boston Consulting Group, 75% have experienced a negative workplace interaction related to their identity.

The LGBT Inclusion Hub for Small Businesses is an online platform helping business owners create inclusive workplaces. The platform provides information on diversity and why it’s essential to focus on inclusion in the workplace. There are also guides for creating inclusive workplace practices and leadership tips for LGTBQ professionals.

The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)—also known as the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce—is an advocacy organization and the business voice of the LGBTQ community. It’s also the largest certifying body for LGBTQ-owned businesses.

The NGLCC has 62 affiliate chambers across the country and 1,702 certified LGBTQ business enterprises. There are seven Midwest affiliates; however, Kansas has not yet established a NGLCC affiliation.

You can either certify your business or become a corporate partner. When you certify your business with the NGLCC, you open yourself up to new business opportunities and customers. Partnering with the NGLCC is a great way to expand the diversity of your supplier program.

Affinity Inc. is a quarterly print and digital magazine that focuses on the LGBTQ business community. A member of the NGLCC, Affinity’s mission is to support and promote LGBTQ equality in the workforce. In its pages, you’ll find news about companies that are committed to diversity and inclusion. The magazine also provides a forum to discuss the value that the LGBTQ community adds to the corporate bottom line.

Open for Business is a coalition of businesses that are vocal supporters of LGBTQ inclusion. The coalition provides reports that highlight academic studies, data and business reports showing that LGBTQ inclusion aids business and economic growth. The organization also focuses on local and global programs to create change.

OutProfessionals is the country’s leading LGBTQ networking organization. There are monthly virtual and in-person networking opportunities and community service activities. You can join for free or become a supporting member for $65 per year and gain access to year-round events. You can reach out to the organization if you’re interested in starting your own city chapter.

Even if your business does not qualify for LGBTQ business certification, there are plenty of advantages to making sure you have LGBTQ-inclusive policies in place when it comes to hiring and managing employees. It’s not only good for employee relations, it’s also good for your bottom line.

The Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce is committed to the tenets of diversity, equity and inclusion. We always stand ready to help businesspeople in any way we can.

It’s a great day in Emporia!

“Let’s Talk Business” is a weekly column of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Emporia. The mission of the Chamber is to be proactive in creating an environment for business and community success, guided by the vision that positive attitudes promote positive actions. Contact us at 620-342-1600 or chamber@emporiakschamber.org and visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org.