As the United States grapples with historic levels of unemployment, a new tool proves that investment in LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs is a smart strategy for recovery.
The newly launched StartOut Pride Economic Impact Index (SPEII), released Wednesday by StartOut and Socos Labs, demonstrates the untapped potential of this group to create jobs and innovation; it does so by using big data and artificial intelligence to compare inclusive markets to exclusive ones.
In the past and present, LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs receive unequal access to resources, the data shows. In over two of three U.S. metro areas, for example, not a single high-growth entrepreneur identified as LGBTQ+.
Over the past 20 years, LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs have collectively raised $5 billion in funding. And $3.9 billion of that total was limited to queer-inclusive San Francisco, where these entrepreneurs helped create over 15,000 jobs. With more access to resources, over 2 million jobs could have been created across the United States during this time, the data shows.
The SPEII's findings stress how moving forward, investment in LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs — only 1 in 10 have received the funding they needed in the past — is good for both diversity and the economy.
“The launch of the SPEII, two years in the making, could not be more timely. Each entrepreneur who has what it takes to drive the recovery of the U.S. economy must get a fair chance to contribute,” said Andres Wydler, the executive director of StartOut, the largest U.S. nonprofit to support LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. “We are immensely proud to offer, with our partners, an actionable tool for decision makers nationwide who recognize the need to include and leverage all entrepreneurial talent that is able and willing to rise to the occasion.”
Dr. Vivienne Ming, founder of Socos Labs, added, “Our big-data driven, close to real-time approach, takes the guesswork out of decision making for interventions. Over time, we can evaluate trends and differences with the data at hand and will gain deep insights into which programs and regulations impact opportunities for underrepresented communities, positively and negatively.”
The SPEII was funded by JPMorgan Chase as part of its Small Business Forward initiative. It was also supported by Ogilvy, Google, Crunchbase, Reaching Out, and the Movement Advancement Project.
The tool, which draws upon data from 5 million entrepreneurs in markets across the United States, is free to use and updated monthly. Use it now at StartOut.org.