Pride Month: Celebrating the Economic Impact of LGBT Business

June is LGBT Pride Month – a monthlong celebration of the LGBT community and gay rights. The month of June was chosen to commemorate the June 1969 Stonewall riots and has grown into a nationwide celebration of equality.

If you’re a LGBT small business owner, you have more than one reason to celebrate. A report by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) found that LGBT-owned businesses contribute over $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy.

LGBT-Owned Businesses by the Numbers

While it’s impossible to know the exact number, it’s estimated that there are 1.4 million LGBT-owned businesses in the U.S. This number is expected to grow as younger entrepreneurs become more open about their sexual orientation.

For this article, we’re looking specifically at certified LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs) and their impact on our economy. To become a certified LGBTBE, your business must be at least 51% owned, managed or operated by an LGBT person.

  • 1,060 BUSINESSES. Only 1,060 businesses are LGBTBEs. While 1,060 seems on the small side, these businesses pack a serious economical punch.
  • $2.5 MILLION. The average revenue of a certified LGBTBE is $2.5 million. By comparison, more than half of small business reported revenues of $1 million or less in 2017.
  • 12 YEARS. The average lifetime of a LGBTBE is 12 years, with nearly 15% of them founded over two decades ago. To put that number into perspective, almost half of all startups don’t make it past 4 years.
  • 33,000 JOBS. The NGLCC estimates the 1,060 LGBTBEs have created more than 33,000 jobs (and counting) nationwide.

Challenges LGBT-Owned Businesses Face

Despite the success of LGBT-owned businesses, 23% of business owners report feeling that being LGBT makes it harder to run a business. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges they face.

  • BUSINESS FINANCING. Many LGBT owners still face biases when dealing with financial institutions and may be uncomfortable going to one in the first place. Because of this, they are more likely to rely on credit cards and their savings when starting a business. In recent years, there has been an increase in financial resources for LGBT business owners.
  • LACK OF DIVERSITY. 66% of LGBTBEs are gay-owned, 29% are lesbian-owned and 2% are transgender-owned. What’s more, 80% of LGBTBE business owners are white. This lack of diversity means a lack of mentors and representation for women and ethnic minorities.
  • DISCRIMINATION. Being out can come with benefits and challenges for business owners. More than 75% of LGBT adults, their friends and families say they would switch to known LGBT friendly brands. However, the LGBT community still faces discrimination with spotty legal protection across the country, and out entrepreneurs risk losing funding and customers.

Celebrating Pride Month in Your Community 

There are thousands of Pride celebrations across the country. Show your support by participating in or attending a local event. You can also support LGBT business owners in your community by shopping small. For more ways to get involved, reach out to your local affiliate chamber of the NGLCC.

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