Photo by Kevin Hernandez on Unsplash

Many LGBTQ-owned businesses in Houston are obtaining the LGBTBE® certification. The certification opens the door for these business owners to participate in corporate supplier diversity programs such as those offered by Fortune 500 corporations like Bank of America, Chevron, Shell and United.

The LGBTBE® certification is part of supplier diversity and inclusion programs that typically include participation from businesses owned by minorities, veterans, and women as examples.

Why get certified?

LGBTQ business owners have traditionally been excluded from many opportunities within the broader business community and many have stayed in the closet because of the fear of losing clients, employees, and revenue. The LGBTBE® certification gives LGBTQ owned businesses an opportunity to participate in contracting opportunities and to be valued for the service or product they provide as part of an ecosystem of diverse entrepreneurs.

Qualifications for the certification

A company must be at least 51 percent LGBTQ-owned, operated, managed, and controlled along with other criteria comparable to similar certification programs. The certifying body for the LGBTBE® certification is the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). In order to get certified, a business owner should complete the application through the NGLCC.

The impact of certification

Making sure that the LGBTQ business community has access to economic opportunity is good for business and the region. The LGBTQ business community is part of the economic fabric in the region and key to Houston’s economic success. However, there are still traditional barriers for LGBTQ-owned businesses that must be removed whether through the LGBTBE® certification or by actively engaging LGBTQ entrepreneurs with the broader business community.