By Sarah Jester
As 2023 begins, #LGBTBiz owners across the country have made their entrepreneurial resolutions for the New Year, re-examined their foundational business plans, and connected with customers and clients to see what they can improve upon in the coming months. But there’s one thing you might be leaving off your list for 2023 – learning how to do business with the NGLCC network!
“As we begin a new year of growth and recovery, the following programs are the kind of innovations and support that the 1.4 million LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ entrepreneur has every resource they need to scale and thrive in this difficult marketplace.”
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, and stay tuned for upcoming Sip & Pitch events on the NGLCC Events Calendar.
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 and subject matter experts (SMEs) to provide expert guidance and insight on focus areas identified by the LGBTBE. By connecting LGBTQ business owners 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 NGLCC XLR8 Certified LGBTBE® Capacity Development Program. XLR8 is designed to help LGBTQ-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.
This year, LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ-owned businesses and corporate experts. Highlights from NGLCC’s Matchmaker Prep Seminar are also available here.
The skills you learn from Sip & Pitch, XLR8, Matchmakers, and mentorship opportunities can be put to use at a variety of diverse business events, including NGLCC signature programming like the annual International Business & Leadership Conference. This year, the 2023 Conference will take us to Denver, Colorado! This globally recognized conference is the largest LGBTQ business event on the planet. The NGLCC Conference delivers innovative leadership programming as well as networking and engagement opportunities for more than 2,000 LGBT and allied business leaders. Cutting-edge educational programs include inspiring keynote speakers, the annual B2B Boot Camp for certified LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs), a local chamber development track, Marketplace Expo, one-on-one Matchmaker meetings between suppliers and Fortune 500 companies, and much more. We hope to see you and your business there – stay tuned for details and registration at nglcc.org/nglcc23.
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.
As 2023 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!
Visit nglcc.org to learn more about joining the NGLCC community.
Have questions? Get in touch with the NGLCC team at [email protected]!