Doing Business with NGLCC in 2022

As the first month of 2022 comes to a close, LGBT business owners across the country have made their biz resolutions for the New Year, re-examined their foundational business plans, and connected with customers and clients to see what they can improve upon, but there is one thing you’re leaving off your list for 2022 – learning how to do business with the NGLCC network!

Once you become a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® (Certified LGBTBE®) supplier, you gain access to a world of exclusive business opportunities, including interactive online events and networking sessions. Certified LGBTBE® suppliers that want to expand their networks should be prepared for events like NGLCC LGBT Sip & Pitch, a chance to informally present your business to a panel of experts and your fellow business owners for positive, constructive feedback and new ideas. Sip & Pitch is a great way to see and be seen by representatives from NGLCC Corporate Partners and fellow Certified LGBTBE® companies seeking your goods & services. But is your pitch game up to par? NGLCC has your back! We turned to the experts to find out just what makes a killer pitch – and how to make your company stand out at any pitch opportunity. Corporate supplier diversity representatives advise you to keep the energy levels up, fine-tune your presentation deck, and to find a unique way to capture the judges’ attention during your pitch with a powerful statement. Click HERE for more tips and tricks from our experts.

NGLCC offers Certified LGBTBE® companies a wealth of business resources beyond Sip & Pitch that entrepreneurs should take advantage of this year, one of which is the NGLCC Mentorship Program. The Mentorship Program matches Certified LGBTBE® applicants with corporate representatives from NGLCC Corporate Partners as well as LGBT business owners to provide expert guidance and insight on focus areas identified by the LGBTBE. By connecting LGBTBEs with experienced and committed mentors, the NGLCC Mentor Program strives to support the growth and success of Certified LGBTBE® companies. Learn more and apply for the Mentorship Program HERE.

“Being a Certified LGBTBE® through the NGLCC already gives you access to otherwise ‘out of reach’ relationships with corporate representatives, and having an NGLCC mentor is that on steroids,” said Sharon Melnick, CEO of Horizon Point Inc.. “I was fortunate to have Theresa Harrison, from EY, who held a bigger vision for me than I had for myself and helped me up-level. If you have a chance to participate in the mentorship program it will be one of the best opportunities you’ll have as a certified supplier, or even as a business owner.”

Certified LGBTBE® owners can gain access to additional mentorship opportunities and valuable business advice through the XLR8 Program. XLR8 is designed to help LGBT-owned businesses grow and succeed in a highly competitive market, and is presented in partnership with Wells Fargo and Dell Small Business. XLR8 provides online executive management education programs, teaming with academic institutions, private sector companies and subject matter experts who can work with these owners on a project of importance to their company. Interested in applying this year? Click here!

Alongside the XLR8 Program, NGLCC and Wells Fargo have launched the iLead: Grow, Scale & Contract Program, which works to enhance the technical skills and capacity of LGBT firms. This year, the program will be facilitated as small group workshops over a series of months and will include detailed instruction on critical elements such as capabilities statements and decks; how to appropriately respond to request for proposals (RFP); and perfecting your pitch. Click here to learn more and apply.

“As we begin a new year of growth and recovery, both the NGLCC iLead and XLR8 programs are the kind of innovations and support that the 1.4 million LGBT business owners — and the $1.7 trillion they add to the US economy each year – have come to expect from their champions at the NGLCC,” said NGLCC Co-Founder & President Justin Nelson. “We will ensure every LGBT entrepreneur has every resource they need to scale and thrive in this difficult marketplace.”

This year, LGBT business owners should also prepare for one-on-one matchmaker meetings with NGLCC Corporate Partners through the NGLCC Matchmakers Program. Similar to pitches, these meetings allow for Certified LGBTBE® suppliers to present their services and capabilities to corporations looking to procure services. Have questions about matchmaking? Think of this opportunity as long term networking; entrepreneurs are constantly selling their businesses and that golden opportunity may come further down the line. Need to sharpen up your matchmaking skills? Click HERE to review matchmaking advice contributed by participating LGBT-owned businesses and corporate experts.

Successfully doing business with the NGLCC network this year is certainly not limited to NGLCC-specific events. In an increasingly virtual world, social media marketing is one of the most powerful tools entrepreneurs have at their fingertips when seeking to catch the attention of potential customers. When thinking about your digital strategy, it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is if you can’t actually connect with your target audience! Marketing to customers online is everything, especially when a sizable chunk of the nation is still shopping from home. To help you polish up your digital landscape, click HERE to visit NGLCC’s handy pocket-sized guide to running your social media channels in 2022.

As 2022 progresses, we are excited to connect with each of you and provide you with additional resources to aid in your entrepreneurial journey. Stay tuned for upcoming events and opportunities to network at nglcc.org/events!

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Visit nglcc.org/get-certified to learn more about joining the NGLCC community as a certified LGBT supplier.

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