A-3891 establishes a number of vital economic opportunities and services for LGBT, disability, and veteran-owned businesses, including:
- Approving third-party agencies, including NGLCC and USBLN, to perform certification and verification of eligible businesses;
- Establishing a loan referral and packing program for eligible businesses; and
- Compiling lists of qualified professionals in specific areas of expertise to be disseminated to eligible businesses and to be used in making referrals.
NGLCC Senior Vice President Jonathan Lovitz represented the organization and spoke to their history of effectively implementing this kind of intentional business inclusion across the pubic and private sectors. Lawmakers and business leaders in California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and across many federal agencies have partnered with NGLCC to develop this kind of policy, which is both revenue neutral and free of additional red tape that is cumbersome to small business development. These programs aim to mirror the best practices of the private sector where over 1/3 of the Fortune 500 currently seek and include NGLCC Certified LGBTBE® companies in their supply chains.
“The New Jersey state motto is “Liberty and Prosperity”— exactly the aims of this kind of business inclusion. Discrimination and lack of inclusion are not only morally wrong; they are antithetical to the pro-business climate for which New Jersey is renowned. At this very moment, LGBT owned, disability owned, and veteran owned businesses are providing top quality goods and services—from personnel to paving stones—at extremely competitive prices to many of the prime contractors New Jersey uses everyday. They deserve the fair and equal chance to win those contracts outright. With an equal seat at the table, diverse business owners will continue to create jobs and grow the Garden State economy,” Lovitz stated in his testimony.
Laurie Seliger, Co-President of the New Jersey LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the local NGLCC affiliate chamber, joined him in providing testimony. Seliger is a Certified LGBTBE® business owner for her language translation service, Keylingo.
“LGBT individuals, people with disabilities, and veterans often face discrimination and bias, and transgender individuals, in particular, are disproportionately underemployed due to discrimination,” said Assemblyman Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic), co-sponsor of the bill. “This legislation would help them overcome certain discriminations by providing access to business assistance programs that are currently provided to other minority communities in the state.”
LGBT business owners interested in the certification process can find information and an application at www.nglcc.org/get-certified.