NGLCC & SBA LGBT Business Builder Program Awarded 2017 Harvard Ash Center
 Bright Idea in Government


January 19, 2017

Washington D.C. – The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the LGBT community, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are celebrating the 2017 Harvard Ash Center
 Bright Idea in Government having been awarded to the SBA’s Office of Field Operations for its collaboration with the NGLCC on the LGBT Business Builder Outreach Initiative. This honor recognizes programs “that represent the next horizon in government work to improve services, solve problems, and work on behalf of citizens.”  This is the fifth such cohort recognized through the Bright Ideas program since 2010, which is an initiative of the broader Innovations in American Government Awards program.
The LGBT Business Builder is a hyper-local business education and resource-sharing program first launched in February 2015 as a result of a Strategic Alliance Memorandum between NGLCC and the SBA. In keeping with NGLCC’s mission, the LGBT Business Builder seeks to further the LGBT movement through the economic advancement of LGBT entrepreneurs.   Participants in the program learn how to grow their businesses with the NGLCC Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® (Certified LGBTBE®) certification, leverage the resources and capital programs provided by the SBA, and take advantage of emerging procurement opportunities now open across the Fortune 500 and with federal, state, and municipal agencies actively seeking LGBT suppliers. 
“Our work with the Small Business Administration has ensured more LGBT business owners than ever before have access to the information, certifications, and resources available to them that allow their businesses to compete for their piece of the American Dream,” said NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson. “It’s fitting that the LGBT Business Builder program be recognized for its impact in the same week we released our historic America’s LGBT Economy report, demonstrating how the LGBT businesses this program seeks to grow are directly powering the US economy. They bring innovation, contribute revenue, and create tens of thousands of jobs. Everyone at NGLCC is extremely pleased with this recognition and we know it was only possible through the hard work and dedication of passionate leaders in the public and private sector who know the economic impact of diversity in our economy.” 
Since the first LGBT Business Builder event hosted in partnership with NGLCC local affiliate chamber Golden Gate Business Association (GGBA) and Pacific Gas & Electric, over a dozen cities hosted these events over the last two years. Their strategic locations reflected surging momentum toward LGBT business inclusion in some of the top entrepreneurial centers in America and brought the combined resources of NGLCC and SBA to America’s estimated 1.4 million LGBT business owners.
Reflecting on the impact of this program since it kicked off in San Francisco, GGBA President Dawn Ackerman said, ”Knowing that the SBA recognizes and cares about the success of the over one million LGBT owned Businesses in the US, empowers the entrepreneurs of our community to work hard, create jobs and to be great contributors to the economic fabric of America.”
“[The LGBT Business Builder] is about ensuring that entrepreneurs who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender have the support they need to excel… because we cannot separate the fight for civil rights from the fight for market rights and economic empowerment,” said former SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet at the 2015 launch of the program held at NGLCC headquarters. “This agreement is not about what we will do here in D.C., but what we will do together in all fifty states to help LGBT entrepreneurs grow their revenues and their payroll.” 
For consideration as a Bright Idea, programs must currently be in operation or in the process of launching, have sufficient operational resources, and must be administered by one or more governmental entities; nonprofit, private sector, and union initiatives are eligible if operating in partnership with a governmental organization. Bright Ideas are showcased on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions. 
Jonathan D. Lovitz
Senior Vice President, NGLCC
The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce 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.

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