Houston is First in Texas to Include LGBT Businesses


Historic collaboration between The City of Houston, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce will generate massive social and economic gains for the LGBT business community of Texas

March 4, 2021
Houston, TX  / Washington, D.C. –  The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the LGBT community, is proud to announce Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has signed an executive order including NGLCC Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® (Certified LGBTBE®) suppliers and ensuring they have equitable access to contracting and procurement opportunities throughout the city. For LGBT citizens of Houston, this inclusive policy provides fair and equal access to contracting opportunities and economic development programs that drive innovation, create jobs, and promote economic growth throughout the region.
“Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Sylvester Turner and of our local affiliate chamber, the award-winning Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce, LGBT entrepreneurs in the Houston region will now have the opportunity to create jobs and develop innovations that benefit all who live there. History has been made here in Houston, and this victory for inclusivity has once again proved our core values that ‘diversity is good for business’ and that ‘if you can buy it, a Certified LGBTBE® can supply it.’ We are excited to see LGBTBEs in every field, from construction to catering and everything in between, help grow the economy of Houston and beyond,” said NGLCC Co-Founder & President Justin Nelson.
This Executive Order makes Houston the first city in Texas, and one of the largest in the nation, to intentionally create an initiative to expand its inclusion of LGBT-owned businesses in municipal contracting and procurement opportunities. Coupled with the educational, mentorship, networking and access to capital programs offered by both the national and Houston chamber networks, business owners from across all diverse communities in the greater Houston region will see fresh opportunities to thrive.

“As the most diverse city in the country, the City of Houston is sending a strong message that our great city is open to all including LGBTQ owned businesses. The LGBTQ business community plays a vital role in the local economy and is an important part of our diverse city. Inclusion of the LGBTBE® Certification means that LGBTQ entrepreneurs can engage authentically and have access to economic opportunities, tools and resources. Thank you to Mayor Turner for paving the way in Texas and for his commitment to the LGBTQ business community,” said Tammi Wallace, Co-Founder and President & CEO of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

The City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity (OBO) will provide implementation and oversight of this new initiative. Educational webinars and additional information about the inclusion of LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs) in OBO’s online certification directory will be shared via email, as well as on national and local chamber websites, in the weeks ahead.

“The signing of this executive order coincides with the five-year anniversary of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber, and I am especially proud to celebrate these two historic milestones,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The City of Houston has always been committed to providing fair and equal access to economic and contracting opportunities to all eligible businesses – and we are proud to formally memorialize this commitment to the LGBTQ community.”

In addition to its certification directory, OBO also provides a host of support services for Houston’s small business community, as well as business development and workforce development programs – all of which are available to all individuals.

“We look forward to the increased participation and awareness of the LGBT community in our programs, which are meant to help businesses grow and increase their success in bidding for contracts in both the public and private sectors,” said OBO Director Marsha E. Murray. “We are eager to strengthen our partnership with the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber and the NGLCC to provide these opportunities.”

Such inclusion is now a best practice of the private sector and of an ever-growing number of states and municipalities, thanks to the advocacy of NGLCC and its state and local affiliate chambers like the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Recent advocacy wins for NGLCC Certified LGBTBE® suppliers include New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Nashville, as well as statewide opportunities with Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and California.

“While we have a long way to go for LGBT equality in the region, Texas has always defied stereotypes and discrimination with a strong and growing network of NGLCC Certified LGBTBE® suppliers and LGBT-owned companies. We hope this Executive Order in Houston will encourage more cities in Texas to proactively include the LGBT community for the optimum social and economic health of their cities. Collectively, LGBT-owned businesses contribute to the $1.7 trillion dollars that the LGBT business community puts into the national economy.  Progressive and inclusive leadership, like that of Mayor Turner, will ensure greater access to the American Dream for every American,” said NGLCC Co-Founder & CEO Chance Mitchell.

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Jonathan Lovitz
Senior Vice President, NGLCC
press@nglcc.org | 202.499.3042
The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. NGLCC is the exclusive certification body for LGBT-owned businesses, known as Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® (Certified LGBTBE®) suppliers. www.nglcc.org @nglcc
About the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce:
Established in February 2016, the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to accelerate economic opportunity for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer + (LGBTQ+) business community through a strong network of business allies, innovative programs, strategic partnerships and advance policies that foster economic inclusion and equality.

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