SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet visits NGLCC to mark event
Last Thursday, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) entered a historic and strategic partnership intended to strengthen and support the LGBT business community.
SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet and NGLCC co-founder and President Justin Nelson signed the agreement, dubbed the LGBT Business Builder, at NGLCC headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Present to witness the signing were senior members of the SBA, including Deputy Associate Administrator Eugene Cornelius, Team NGLCC staff, certified LGBTBEs, leaders of local affiliate chambers, and members of the media.
The purpose of the LGBT Business Builder is to bring together the expertise and resources of both SBA district offices and NGLCC’s 38 local affiliate chambers. Businesses will learn how to leverage LGBTBE certification and explore opportunities through SBA’s suite of services around government contracting, exporting, and other SBA initiatives.
At the signing, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet stated, “Today’s announcement is about ensuring that entrepreneurs who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender have the support they need to excel. I’m here because we cannot separate the fight for civil rights from the fight for market rights and economic empowerment. This agreement is not about what we will do here in D.C., but what we will do together in all 50 states to help LGBT entrepreneurs grow their revenues and their payroll.”
“At its heart, America is a country that builds things, especially businesses. It is gratifying to know the leadership of the Small Business Administration sees the value of LGBT citizens who have wondered for too long how they can also gain a seat at the table. This program will ensure they will understand the value of becoming an LGBT-certified businesses and all the SBA resources that are available to them. We commend Administrator Contreras-Sweet for putting an unprecedented focus on harnessing the potential of LGBT-owned businesses,” says Justin Nelson, president and co-founder, NGLCC.
LGBT Business Builder day-long training sessions will occur over the next 24 months for LGBT business owners in San Francisco, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. Other cities will be announced in the near future.