NGLCC’s Second LGBT Sip & Pitch Program: Marketing, Travel and Food Companies Present Their Ideas

| By Kaela Roeder

The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) kicked off another round of LGBT Sip & Pitch last Friday, an event for LGBT business owners to present their business ideas, hear advice from corporate professionals and connect over coffee and cocktails. Corporate Partner Chevron partnered with NGLCC to present this event.

Even in this time of uncertainty, NGLCC is increasing digital networking and supplier development opportunities for the LGBT community globally.

This week, six businesses presented their ideas to our panel of judges: Dave Feldman of Chevron, Lisa Castillo of AT&T, Rose Hatcher of ViacomCBS and Sheri Shafir of Novartis. Nearly 100 other participants in the event voiced their thoughts on the business pitches in the chat box, as well.

Six companies presented their business ideas and pitches. The companies varied from travel and events businesses to marketing firms. After the pitches, Certified NGLCC Platinum Circle LGBTBE® Social Driver made an appearance during the Community and Conversation portion of the event.

Robert Gelller, founder of FabStayz, presented first. FabStayz is a start-up platform that recognizes LGBT+ Ally hosts from short-term rental companies such as Airbnb and HomeAway. Geller presented the company’s new website to be launched in a month with increased features and ease, such as promoting LGBT-friendly events in the area of the rental.

Jayson Mamaclay, founder of Fuzzy Logic, was up next. Fuzzy Logic provides team building exercises through the fun of escape rooms, typically as a 60-minute story-driven event.

Mamaclay presented how Fuzzy Logic is pivoting to cater to clients virtually in the age of COVID-19: moving their escape rooms online. This new feature allows players in different locations to collaborate to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles as a distanced team.

Several printing and marketing companies presented the ways they are adapting their business plans during COVID-19.

Amazon Printers, the printer of our very own NGLCC business cards, presented how they are adapting during COVID-19, through creating packaging for hand sanitizers and masks. The panel of judges also encouraged Amazon Printers to look at products that can be used post-COVID-19, such as dividers in restaurants or floor-markers to encourage social distancing. 

Founder of Bustard Advertising Jayne Keyser, an alumni of the NGLCC mentorship program, kicked off her presentation with a poem about the importance of coloring outside the lines: a mantra that Keyser uses in coaching companies and developing marketing strategies.

Bustard Advertising is currently looking for ways to help companies with advertising for a virtual Pride month in June, and helping with product development in a post COVID-19 world.

Hootology, another marketing company and alumni of the NGLCC mentorship program, helps companies create engaging media content to boost messaging and outreach. Hootology presented a new feature: “Series (Pre)search,” a cost-efficient way to test customer reactions to market products in an efficient and successful way.

Five North Chocolate, a healthy sweet-treat company dedicated to sourcing Fair Trade products and creating quality snacks, was the final presenter. The company prides itself on empowering farmers and celebrating diversity.

Founder Ben Conard presented how the market is pulling towards healthier foods and more ethical products, trends that Five North Chocolate has combined to create the company. Conard is also one of the first to use the Certified LGBTBE® seal on their products.

Our final hour of community conversation focused on being mission-driven in our recovery efforts and how we connect our personal identities to our businesses.  Social Driver shared how their company is helping power the Take-Out to Help Out campaign. They are buying food from LGBTQ-owned businesses to help nonprofits serving LGBTQ youth at risk of homelessness in the Washinngton, DC area -- and soon expanding to other big cities.

The NGLCC network was floored yet again by the unique and engaging business pitches, and is excited for the next LGBT Sip & Pitch event on May 29.

Want to learn more about LGBT Sip & Pitch Fridays or apply to present your businesses ideas? Click here to learn more or email [email protected] if you have any questions.

For additional ways to help you, your business, and the LGBT community during this time, visit the NGLCC COVID-19 Resource Hub for the LGBT Business Community.