NGLCC Celebrates Hugely Successful 5th Summit of the Americas

| By Jonathan Lovitz

NGLCC, in partnership with host affiliate, the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC), welcomed over 250 LGBT entrepreneurs, corporate partners, government officials, and chamber leaders from across the Americas and around the globe to the InterContinental Yorkville Hotel in Toronto, Canada from June 14-16 for NGLCC Global’s 5th Annual LGBT Summit of the Americas. Building on the success of the past four Summits, which took place respectively in Columbia (2012), Mexico (2014), Peru (2015), and the Dominican Republic (2016), this year’s event provided attendees with the opportunities to expand their international networks, gain valuable business advice from corporate leaders and stakeholders, and enhance their global perspectives on travel and trade.

NGLCC Co-Founder & President Justin Nelson reflected on the impact that this year’s Summit made in advancing the economic empowerment of LGBT markets both in the Americas and internationally, stating, "NGLCC Global's 5th LGBT Summit of the Americas brought together leaders and experts in government, entrepreneurship, corporate supplier diversity, and academia to strengthen the ecosystem that supports the advancement of LGBT-owned businesses across the Americas. This Summit expanded domestic and international business opportunities by creating an intimate space for the sharing of insights from corporate partners and diverse-owned business enterprises, introducing LGBT entrepreneurs to new knowledge and tools to advance their businesses. With an estimated 1.5 million LGBT-owned businesses in the U.S. and Canada alone, this Summit was vital in supporting and connecting LGBT-owned businesses globally.”

This year’s Summit included panel sessions with subject-matter experts, including global corporate procurement professionals, LGBT business owners, and government leaders, who all shared valuable insights regarding trade and business opportunities across the Americas. During Thursday’s luncheon, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre and Special Advisor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on LGBTQ2 Issues, Randy Boissonnault, delivered powerful remarks regarding the current challenges facing the LGBT community in Canada. Other featured speakers include former Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), Senior Transatlantic Fellow for the German Marshall Fund; Chief Trade Commissioner of Canada and Assistant Deputy Minister, International Business Development for Global Affairs Canada, Ailish Campbell; and NGLCC Global chamber leaders from Colombia, Costa Rica, and Sweden. As a special opportunity for the Summit’s U.S delegates, NGLCC Global held a closed door briefing with the U.S. Consulate Toronto, Office of Commercial Services.

On the final day of the Summit, CGLCC announced the launch of the LGBT Youth Entrepreneur Program in collaboration with Ontario150 and partners throughout the Province of Ontario; this groundbreaking program will provide a framework to mentor and support LGBT youth entrepreneurs who are interested in starting or growing a business.

The NGLCC Global team looks forward to announcing the location of the 6th Summit of the Americas in the coming months and to furthering the Summit’s mission of supporting and connecting LGBT business owners from across the Americas.