You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
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Daniel Pillai’s He/She Project Growing up in a traditional south Asian community in Canada, Daniel Pillai didn’t quite fit in. “There was an inherent non-acceptance to who I was and how I acted,” he says. “I stuck out like a sore thumb.” Pillai spent his childhood in what he calls a “conservative atmosphere,” surrounded by […]
Addiction Treatment and the Recovery Process By Matt Gonzales, writer and researcher for DrugRehab.com Drug addiction is a chronic disease that affects your physical and mental health, job status and relationships. Once you’re hooked on a drug, your whole life revolves around it. Substance use disorders are common in the United States. Heroin use in […]
Who pays after the devastating Orlando shooting? After a tragedy, who pays the bill? There has been a lot of talk lately about medical costs and medical debt, even as the Affordable Care Act helps more Americans get the treatment they need without taking on crippling debt. Even with more people covered, medical treatment is […]
Making a Legal Case for Bisexuality Bisexuality is widely misunderstood. Bisexuals are often dismissed or used as a punchline by the straight community and sidelined in conversations about LGBT rights and equality, often while experiencing many of the same struggles and setbacks as the rest of the queer community. And for some–like Ray Fuller, a […]
Olympic Coverage Criticized as Homophobic? One of the most memorable moments of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio didn’t occur during an event. Instead, just after the women’s rugby event on Monday night, Brazil’s Isadora Cerullo’s partner, Marjorie Enya, surprised her with a proposal. As reported by CNN, Enya said in her emotional speech “I […]
Resources for LGBT Entrepreneurs
Around the world, LGBT-owned business are taking off, with more than 1.4 million companies operating in the United States alone. That number is only going to grow as the economy improves, but for many entrepreneurs, knowing where to start can prevent the dream of business ownership from becoming a reality. The process of obtaining funding, finding a suitable location, and establishing relationships with suppliers–along with thousands of other decisions that come with creating a business–can be overwhelming to any startup.
There are more than 1.4 million #LGBT-owned businesses operating in the United States alone. Click To Tweet
For LGBT entrepreneurs and small business owners, several resources, nonprofit organizations, and even social networks have popped up in recent years to provide mentorship and assistance navigating the early stages of business ownership, along with answers to questions about accessing capital, ensuring legal protections for business owners, and dealing with a business climate that can be outright hostile to gays and lesbians.
StartOut: Advocacy & Education for LGBT Business Owners
StartOut is a nonprofit organization that aims to create and support LGBT business leaders through networking events, educational outreach, and mentorship opportunities. With chapters in six cities (and two more in development) and major sponsors including Google, IBM, and Bank of America, StartOut has definitely established itself as a leading organization when it comes to advocating for workplace equality and connecting LGBT entrepreneurs to resources. The StartOut website features information and articles on several of the organization’s programs, including:
- Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentorship Program: Since 2012, this program has connected new lesbian entrepreneurs with experienced lesbian business owners, investors, and executives to provide one-on-one advice, resources, and knowledge over a six-month period.
- Local and National Events: In addition to educational and networking events, StartOut organizes panels and talks on access to capital and outreach, along with inspirational events like the StartOut Awards, recognizing innovation and success in the LGBT entrepreneurial community.
- Success Stories and Featured Businesses: The StartOut Spotlight Series showcases LGBT entrepreneurs throughout the year, while the website’s Success Stories features news about members such as Hip Chick Farm, a lesbian-owned food brand that recently began distributing its products nationally.
Basic StartOut membership costs $95 per year, but it does have many benefits, including access to archived content, event admission, and access to online streams of events. And with StartOut’s extensive network, you may find an accountant who can help you write off your membership fee.
National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
As “the business voice of the LGBT community,” the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is a major advocacy organization for LGBT small businesses and startups, with over a decade of success in highlighting the success of LGBT entrepreneurs and their impact on the economy.
- The LGBT Business Builder: Through its partnership with the Small Business Administration, the NGLCC can connect LGBT small business owners with local and national resources through the SBA, including access to Small Business Development Centers throughout the United States.
- LGBT Business Certification: Since 2004, the NGLCC has lead the way in assessing diversity and inclusion in the workplace. By becoming certified as an LGBT Business Enterprise through the NGLCC, businesses can access resources and connect with other certified business at NGLCC events.
- Supplier Innovation Center: LGBT business owners don’t just need to concentrate on their own companies: the Supplier Innovation Center can help LGBT entrepreneurs ensure that the businesses providing supplies and resources support diversity and LGBT inclusion.
Through these programs and connections to local Chambers of Commerce, the NGLCC advocates for LGBT economic equality in a variety of industries, ensuring that LGBT entrepreneurs and small business owners can make decisions that drive profitability while also strengthening the LGBT community.
Dot429: Social Networking for LGBT Entrepreneurs
Dot429 is sometimes referred to as “LinkedIn for LGBT business people,” but it’s much more than that: the dot429 website also features helpful articles on finance and opportunities for LGBT entrepreneurs, as well as general interest articles on LGBT rights and concerns across the globe. Dot429 is free to join, and members can connect to other business owners to share success stories and tips for LGBT startups.
In addition to the website’s “queer professional perspective,” dot429 also hosts monthly events throughout the country, allowing members to form even more valuable relationships than the connections made through the site’s social networking tools.
By connecting with other #LGBTbusiness owners, new companies can learn what’s worked for others. Click To Tweet
Building Connections for LGBT Entrepreneurs
One thing these organizations have in common: an emphasis on connection. Through mentorships, networking, and events, StartOut, the NGLCC, and dot429 realize the importance of personal connections within the LGBT community, and the importance of this emphasis within the LGBT business community can’t be overstated. Starting a business is tough enough for anyone, and trying to figure out the process alone is a recipe for disaster. By connecting with other LGBT business owners, new companies can learn what’s worked for others, and share common pitfalls with other members of the community.
As more LGBT-owned businesses join the market, resources like these will help those businesses thrive. The growth of these networks in the past few years makes it clear that LGBT entrepreneurs will play a major part in the future of business, and the importance of giving a voice to LGBT businesses in fields without a significant LGBT presence.