The LGBT community is gaining more visibility in the US. In TV dramas, it is no longer rare for LGBT characters to play central roles, and in the business world, many companies have long promoted LGBT diversity.
It is estimated that there are 1.4 million LGBT businesses in the US. An organization that serves and represents these businesses is the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). It was established in Washington, DC in November 2002, and has 44 local affiliates across the nation.
Since October 2016, NGLCC has been granting LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE) designation. Already more than 900 companies have been certified. To receive the LGBTBE certification, the company must be based in the US, and at least 51% of the business must be owned by LGBT persons who are American citizens or permanent residents. Certified companies have the benefit of being able to network with NGLCC corporate partners, which comprise approximately 200 major companies, and thus building relationships to becoming official suppliers.
California has the largest number of LGBT companies, followed by New York – which has the largest number of NGLCC members – then Texas. The types of businesses provided are mostly in the service industries, including management consulting, marketing, design and film production. In 2016, LGBT businesses belonging to NGLCC had average revenue of approximately $2.47 million.
In celebration of the organization’s fifteenth anniversary, the LGBT Business & Leadership conference – the largest of its kind in the world – was held August 1-4 in Las Vegas this year. About 200 corporate partners and 1000 people participated. Many major corporations — mostly from financial, pharmaceutical, insurance and leisure industry — sponsored the event, including IBM, NLGCC’s Founding Corporate Sponsor.