By Megan Wadding
The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, has released its first-ever snapshot demonstrating the economic and social impact of America’s LGBT business owners and entrepreneurs.
The report, called “America’s LGBT Economy,” explores the revenues, types, sizes, and geography of LGBT-owned businesses currently certified by NGLCC, as well as the number of jobs they create. The report’s section of personal narratives from successful LGBT business owners reflects the very best about America’s innovative entrepreneurial spirit.
The report found that in 2015 alone, NGLCC-certified LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs) contributed over $1.15 billion to the United States economy, with an average revenue of $2,475,642. The report also reveals that 900 certified LGBTBEs have, to date, created over 33,000 jobs in the U.S., and that the number of non-white LGBT business owners continues to increase annually, now at over 17 percent.
Another interesting finding in the report suggests that LGBT-owned businesses appear to have more staying power, with figures showing that the average LGBT-owned company has been in business for at least 12 years—far above the national average of less than five years.
Tammi Wallace, co-founder and co-chair of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber, believes that the findings will bring awareness to LGBT-owned businesses in Houston.
“In terms of our impact as part of the small-business engine that drives economic growth nationally and locally, these findings give us an effective framework to help educate policymakers, corporate and resource partners, and even the LGBT and allied business community about our significant economic contributions,” said Wallace.
Wallace believes it is evident that LGBT-owned businesses are an integral part of both the local and national economies, so the report’s findings were not entirely unexpected.
“[They] are an important part of the economic landscape in terms of our contributions, successes, and diversity that we bring to the table,” Wallace said.
According to Wallace, the Houston LGBT Chamber leadership is extremely proud that the report noted that 68 businesses in Texas are certified LGBTBEs—meaning that the NGLCC has designated them part of its LGBT Supplier Diversity Initiative, signifying that the business is majority-owned by LGBT individuals. Of those 68 businesses in the report, 24 are in the greater Houston area.
“This stat emphasizes the opportunity the Houston Chamber has to continue to recruit more businesses in the region to secure the LGBTBE certification and build a strong network of LGBT-owned businesses,” said Wallace.
Access to this type of economic analysis will continue to help the Chamber with legislative advocacy as well, according to Wallace.
“We [continue to] talk to elected officials and candidates about policy, such as inclusion of the LGBTBE certification in government procurement, or talking to corporations about engaging LGBTBEs as part of their supplier-diversity programs,” said Wallace.
The Greater Houston LGBT Chamber is celebrating its one-year anniversary in 2017 and, according to Wallace, has “hit the ground running” following a very successful first year.
“The Chamber has a strong commitment to educating the LGBT business community about the LGBTBE certification,” Wallace said.
Wallace believes this report and others like it help to educate the general public, as well as policy-makers and even the LGBT community, about the impact of LGBT-owned businesses, and that its findings help garner support for the LGBT community at large.
“LGBT-owned businesses are an important part of the local, state, and national economies—and our path to economic equality,” said Wallace. “Numbers can speak volumes, and this study offers excellent findings to bolster support for LGBT-owned businesses and the important work of the Chamber.”
Wallace wants to encourage Houston businesses to become members of the Chamber. Since the Houston LGBT Chamber is an affiliate of the NGLCC, local LGBT businesses that join the Houston LGBT Chamber will have their NGLCC Business Enterprise certification fee waived.
For more information, please visit houstonlgbtchamber.com.