Wednesday, February 22, 2017

America's LGBT economy is topic of first-ever report

by Joe Siegel

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) has released its first-ever report demonstrating the economic and social influence of America's LGBT business owners and entrepreneurs.

The “America's LGBT Economy” report explores the revenues, types, sizes and geography of LGBT-owned businesses currently certified by NGLCC, as well as the number of jobs they create and the personal stories of successful LGBT business owners.

“This report proves what we've observed since NGLCC's founding 15 years ago — that America's LGBT business owners are driving our economy upward and deserve every opportunity to keep creating jobs and innovating our industries,” said Justin Nelson, NGLCC co-founder and president.

“The $917 billion spending power highlights our tremendous market clout as an LGBT community,” Nelson continued. “But our strength and leverage is so much more than what we can buy— it lies in what we build, who we hire, and how we make all communities stronger through our businesses. As more LGBT business owners become inspired by this report to come out, get certified, and share their business data with us and our partners, we’ll be able to define our economic impact with even greater accuracy.” 

In early 2004, NGLCC created a best-in-class diversity certification program, making it the exclusive national third-party certifying body for LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs).

The report was prepared by Bob Witeck of Washington, DC-based Witeck Communications, a certified LGBTBE.

“LGBT entrepreneurs — like the rest of us — are significantly more visible and more diverse than ever,” Witeck said. “Our pioneering role models, of course, are the community's newspapers, since they have been the most visible LGBT ambassadors educating and informing the public. Today, however, we also see openly LGBT women and men who own defense contract firms, who operate transportation networks, who provide language translation services, and who own gift shops.”

Nelson believes LGBT media will benefit from the large number of successful LGBT-owned and operated businesses.

“As our report shows, LGBT business owners are thriving in every sector and in every part of the country,” Nelson said. “This reinforces the importance of authentically telling our stories in a way that cuts across all diverse communities. There are many LGBT media firms and outlets currently certified by NGLCC, and we know this report will encourage even more to tap the ever-growing network of opportunities in the LGBT business community.

“At NGLCC, we have nearly 200 corporate and government partners that understand not only the value of the LGBT dollar, but the economic imperative of inclusivity and LGBT visibility in their supply chains and marketplace,” Nelson said. “This groundbreaking report proves our NGLCC philosophy that economic visibility, just like social visibility, is essential in building a diverse and inclusive society — and advertising in LGBT and allied media are essential to expanding that visibility.

NGLCC's "America's LGBT Economy" report can be viewed and downloaded at www.nglcc.org/report

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Volume 18
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