What is LGBTBE Certification?
LGBTBE Certification is a formal acknowledgment provided to businesses that are majority-owned by LGBTQ+ individuals. This certification aims to empower and elevate LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, ensuring that they receive equal business opportunities in the competitive marketplace.
The History of LGBTBE Certification
The journey to establish the LGBTBE certification traces its roots to the broader fight for LGBTQ+ rights in America. As the community battled for equality in various spheres, the economic domain was no exception.
In response to these challenges, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) was founded in 2002. As the voice of America’s LGBTQ+ business community, the NGLCC saw the potential in a certification that would validate and uplift LGBTQ+ businesses. Thus, the LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE) Certification Program was introduced.
The program’s establishment was groundbreaking, marking one of the first formal recognitions of the economic contributions of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs. The certification not only provided these business owners with new opportunities but also emphasized the importance of diversity and inclusion in the corporate realm.
Why Get Certified?
- Enhanced Business Opportunities: Numerous corporations and government entities have supplier diversity programs that prioritize working with LGBTQ+-certified businesses. Acquiring this certification can unlock potential contracts and partnerships.
- Inclusive Networking: Being LGBTQ-certified allows businesses access to a wide network of other LGBTQ+-owned enterprises, fostering collaboration, mentorship, and community support.
- Positive Brand Image: Holding an LGBTQ certification enhances a business’s reputation, emphasizing its dedication to inclusivity and diversity. It often attracts customers and partners who share the same values.
- Financial and Developmental Support: Various state and federal programs offer incentives, grants, and training specifically designed to bolster LGBTQ+-owned businesses.
How to Get Certified
Achieving an LGBTBE certification requires due diligence to ensure that the benefits are directed to the deserving businesses.
- The business must be at least 51% owned, operated, managed, and controlled by an LGBTQ+ individual or individuals.
- The LGBTQ+ owner(s) must be U.S. Citizens or legal residents.
- The LGBTQ+ owner should play a pivotal role in the company’s day-to-day operations and long-term decision-making processes.
- Proof of the owner’s LGBTQ+ identity may be required.
- Prepare Essential Documents: This includes, but is not limited to, business licenses, ownership records, daily management proof, and evidence of LGBTQ+ status.
- Complete the Application: Fill out the application for the certifying body, providing all essential documentation.
- Participate in an Interview and Site Review: A representative might conduct an interview or site visit to corroborate the information given.
- Evaluation and Verdict: The certifying agency reviews the application and subsequently reaches a decision. Once approved, certifications generally last for a year, requiring annual renewals.