Login | August 18, 2017

New report illustrates the economic clout of LGBT business owners

ELISSA COLLOPY
Special to the Legal News

Published: August 1, 2017

A new, first of its kind report demonstrating the economic and social impact of LGBT business owners and entrepreneurs released by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce last week depicts that community's expansive influence on the nation's economy.

This new report explores the types and sizes of businesses currently certified by the chamber, the number of jobs they create, their geography, and several personal narratives of successful LGBT business owners.

"These numbers tell the real story," said Bob Witeck, president of Witeck Communications, a certified LGBTBE that served as the analyst for the report. "While our community's $917 billion spending power highlights our market clout, the jobs, tax revenues and profits we create as employers and entrepreneurs define our fill economic value to America. We are just beginning to scratch the surface of our potential."

While it is impossible to know precisely how many American businesses today are owned and operated by LGBT individuals, the U.S. Small Business Administration found that there are nearly 28 million small businesses in the U.S., and as of October of last year, 909 businesses were officially certified as LGBT Business Enterprises by the chamber.

"The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is elated to be able to evidence through this report what we've observed since our founding fifteen years ago: that America's LGBT business owners are driving our economy upward and deserve every opportunity to keep creating jobs and innovating our industries," said Justin Nelson, NGLCC co-founder and president. "The estimated 1.4 million LGBT business owners NGLCC advocates for have truly earned a place at the equality table."

Through the 909 certified businesses, over 33,000 jobs were created, according to the chamber.

In addition to this finding, it was found that on average, the lifetime for the certified businesses is 12 years - well over the national average.

According to the report, in 2015, revenues ranged from just over $1,700 to a high of $180 million, and certified LGBTBEs contributed over $1.15 billion to the U.S. economy.

If all estimated 1.4 million LGBT businesses in America are considered, the figure is nearly $2 trillion.

The report also presents the fact that this number was just $917 billion in 2015.

And while these LGBT businesses are following their inspirations and ambitions, there are an array of types of businesses ranging from architecture to consulting to media.

In addition to the variety of types of businesses, the number of non-white LGBT business owners continues to increase annually - now at over 17 percent, according to the report.

While business owners and entrepreneurs come from all walks of life, there is still a majority of gay and bisexual white male-owned businesses with these specific demographics from the 909 certified businesses: 67.7 percent male, 66.6 percent gay-owned, 29.1 percent lesbian owned, 80 percent caucasian and 5.6 hispanic, to list a few.

Due to this diversity, the chamber spearheaded the formation of the National Business Inclusion Consortium to bring together these vast and diverse communities.

"The NGLCC created the (consortium) to foster business opportunities among all major diverse communities, including women, people of color, and business owners with disabilities," said Nelson. "All diverse communities have LGBT people within them, and our work has proven that an equal seat at the table for LGBT business owners is helping draw in entrepreneurs at the intersection of LGBT and other diversities.

"We expect to see the number of diverse, LGBT-owned businesses continue to rise as business owners seek multiple certifications that allow them to maximize the power of their diversity," he said.

And while the report comes from the national chamber, central Ohio has its own recently established chamber - Diversity Chamber of Central Ohio, adding to the 52 affiliate chambers of the NGLCC across the U.S.

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