The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) started in November 2002 when co-founders Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell realized that the impact of LGBT people on the American economy had gone largely unnoticed despite economic equality being an important component of the LGBT equality movement. The two co-founders sought to showcase that as in addition to being LGBT, many LGBT people were also business owners, employers, taxpayers, providers of healthcare and a vibrant, essential part of the small business engine that makes the U.S. economy run.

An organization literally launched around a coffee table is now the voice for the nation’s 1.4 million LGBT business owners and the $1.7 trillion those enterprises add to the national economy each year. NGLCC enjoys the support and participation of more than 190 corporate partners as well as prominent executive leadership in striving to promote pro-business and LGBT-inclusive policies.

“Back in 2002 we realized that too few government leaders and corporate executives had considered the economic equality of LGBT people or the impact economics could have on the future of the equality movement,” notes NGLCC Co-Founder & President Justin Nelson. “So with a few forward-thinking corporate partners and a small network of LGBT business owners willing to tell their story, NGLCC was born.”
Co-founder & CEO Chance Mitchell describes those early days, recalling that “word began to spread about NGLCC very quickly, thanks to outlets like the Washington Blade and Out magazine recognizing the previously underreported strength and promise of the LGBT business community. That proved what we, and our NGLCC corporate partners, always believed: economic and social visibility go hand-in-hand as we march toward equality and opportunity for all.”
“We needed a way to showcase that LGBT people were a vital part of America as business owners and employers,” Nelson emphasizes. “LGBT business owners were, and are, an essential part of the engine that makes the U.S. economy run and therefore deserve an equal place at the table.”
“Business ownership thrives in the LGBT community because we have all learned to be the entrepreneurs of our own lives,” explains Mitchell. “LGBT business owners prove that being out and being successful does not have to be mutually exclusive.”

Their goal was to create an organization that could support LGBT business owners and showcase the diversity of talent in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. NGLCC has succeeded in large part due to an amazing team and board combined with the caliber of businesses, corporate partners, and individuals that have become involved over the years. In early 2004, NGLCC created a best-in-class diversity certification program, making the organization the exclusive national third-party certifying body for LGBT-owned businesses.

LGBT Supplier Diversity Initiative Milestones:
  • HRC Corporate Equality Index changed to make LGBT supplier diversity a standalone scored criteria (2016)
  • Massachusetts becomes the first state to include LGBTBEs in contracting (2015) first-in-the-nation statewide inclusion of LGBT business enterprises enacted by MA Governor Charlie Baker with the guidance of the NGLCC
  • Passage of California’s AB1678 (2014) first-in-the-nation public mandate requiring the intentional inclusion of certified LGBT Business Enterprises in contracting with CA Public Utilities
  • MOUs signed expanding access to over $13.8 Billion in federal contracts for LGBTBEs USDA (2016), HUD (2015), Transportation (2014), Labor (2013), SBA (2012), and Commerce (2011)
  • LGBT Business Builder partnership with SBA (2015)
  • NGLCC Global launched (2013)
  • HRC Corporate Equality Index includes LGBT supplier diversity (2012)
  • Launched National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC) in 2011 forming working group of executive leaders from diverse agencies including: Women’s Business Enterprise National Council; U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.; U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce; U.S. Business Leadership Network: Disability at Work; and WEConnect International
  • Created first in class LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE) Certification now in use by over 1/3 of Fortune 500 and federal, state, and local government supply chains nationwide.