Last time I shared how Diversity Works wound up in a pitch meeting on Wall Street with Corporate giants Colgate Palmolive, New York Life, and JP Morgan Chase. For a small business that’s a big opportunity (and a huge rush!) that can happen for you (or someone you know) as a LGBT minority owned business. A little background…
Many people are familiar with corporate supplier diversity programs which seek out and include minority businesses like “Women-owned” or “African-American owned,” as approved vendors to provide them with products and services. Corporations often give a percentage of their work to minorities, it’s usually less than 10%, as part of their procurement diversity missions. It doesn’t assure a minority business of winning the bid, but it helps you get a seat at the table if your are qualified to be there.
One of the newer minority business “frontiers” is LGBT-certified businesses. This certification, the cornerstone program of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, (www.nglcc.org) (They are doing a road show for those interested in becoming certified, and are Boston bound on Wednesday, May 2.) The process is a similar to the other minority business programs; you prove that you are 51% owned, controlled and operated, file the needed documents and then you are on your way to new business opportunities. Our pitching the “big 3” last week was a great one for us! (Thanks to David Riccardi and the NGLCCNY!)
The NGLCC, leading the way of a pioneering movement of the now estimated $800 billion in LGBT buying power, has a strong base of local affiliates around the country; Diversity Works is a proud member of the Connecticut Alliance for Business Opportunities-CABO (www.thecabo.org). This growing network is not only for LGBT businesses, but their allies as well. The NGLCC has 140+ corporate partners like Amercan Airlines, Pepsi, and IBM (as well as the big three we pitched to on Tuesday!) These enterprises are looking to work with LGBT certified businesses as suppliers.
Even if you already have a LGBT owned company or are thinking of starting one, the timing has never been better. There are currently just 300 LGBT certified businesses in the entire country, the odds are certainly in your favor to get in front of some of these corporations if you are qualified.
It is an opportunity that more and more business owners are discovering. If you know someone who has a LGBT owned business but might not have realized they can certify it, please pass this along! We hope to share with you that we’ll be working with one or more of the heavy-hitters Jenn, Tony, and I pitched to last week. We could get used to working in New York more often and unbeatable views of NYC.
See you next Blog,
Dan & Jenn