The LGBT community has been through joy and heartache many times in recent years, and we have always emerged stronger than ever because of our commitment to taking care of one another. We know this new coronavirus (COVID-19) is top of mind for every entrepreneur, corporate partners, and supporters our community has these days. As NGLCC we regularly quote the late Senator Paul Wellstone who said, “We all do better when we all do better.” Now, as our businesses and nonprofits push through the coronavirus pandemic and the recovery still to come, we must ensure we are all looking out for one another.
Many of us will be looking closely at price tags as we plan for brighter economic days ahead. When you do, look for an indication that the company is an LGBT-inclusive corporation or an NGLCC Certified Business Enterprise. It has never been easier to go online or check with your local affiliate LGBT chamber of commerce to make sure you support the brands that have our community’s back. As the economy regains its footing in the months ahead, leading with a commitment to diversity — as a business owner and consumer — can help supercharge our economy and our community back to where we should be with our $917 billion dollar purchasing power.
At the NGLCC, we represent over 1.4 million LGBT business owners in the United States — everyone from mom & mom and pop & pop shops on Main Street to major LGBT-owned corporations that employ hundreds. LGBT-owned companies in our family at every size and scale are hurting — and will hurt for some time to come. However, many are already taking steps to ensure this moment of crisis doesn’t cause more harm to our community’s future.
Many in our business community are using the time of slower day-to-day operations to focus on building their businesses for the comeback ahead. Do you need a new business plan or a capability statement to get new business? Now is the perfect time. Have you been putting off getting the company logo of your dreams or the killer website your business needs? Now is the perfect time. Have you thought about putting your life experience and skills to work to start the small business you never had time to build before? Now is the perfect time.
And best of all: everything you need, from business coaches to work-from-home technology solutions, from meal prep services to global manufacturers, can be sourced directly from within our own community. And helping LGBT Americans through this time is key to helping all Americans succeed. We can never forget that our community includes women, communities of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, veterans, and so many others who need us to stand in solidarity for a stronger, more inclusive economy on the other side of this outbreak.
Lastly, if you are an LGBT business owner (or thinking of becoming one) and not yet certified as an LGBT Business Enterprise, you’re leaving opportunities on the table to help your business recover, grow, and support others. We will need your innovations in the new economy ahead. You could join our ranks as a role model, job creator, and future LGBT business success story. Our community is sustained by our resilience and commitment to helping one another through the good times, and the challenging ones. Let us commit ourselves to shop local, shop LGBT, give back what we can to our community organizations, and support all around us. We truly are in this together.
Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell are cofounders of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). NGLCC is the business voice of the LGBT community, the largest global advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people, and the exclusive certifying body for LGBT-owned businesses.