Participating in an Historic Event – First Ever US Federal Government Procurement Fair for LGBT Businesses!

Part 1 of 2 of a series around LGBT economic development

On November 15, 2012, it was truly an exciting privilege to attend the first ever Federal Government Procurement Fair for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) owned businesses. The event was organized by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the certifying body for LGBT business enterprises. And the NGLCC provides a wide range of support services to LGBT-owned businesses as well as for the corporate partners who now include LGBT in the supplier diversity mix.

The afternoon session was appropriately held at the US Department of Commerce Building in Washington, DC. Before the 50 to 60 LGBT business owners started visiting with the approximately dozen Federal agencies that were represented, we had a dynamic and inspiring 45 minute session with several short addresses.

Dr. Rebecca Blank, the Acting Secretary of Commerce and Deputy Secretary of Commerce delivered a compelling speech on

Dr. Rebecca Blank, Acting Secretary of Commerce and Deputy Secretary of Commerce

the importance of encouraging LGBT owned business as a key to US economic growth. Dr. Blank spoke of the President’s US Export Initiative and how LGBT-owned business can and should contribute to it. Three of her key points:

• That LGBT entrepreneurs can start businesses that help spur economic growth
• That creative LGBT business owners can develop innovative products and deliver more efficient processes that will help our economy
• LGBT entrepreneurs starting business can help grow jobs

Dr. Blank also praised the work being done by the NGLCC with its US government sanctioned trade mission to Colombia, since LGBT business have special products and expertise that international markets want … and this also helps the US balance of trade.

Gautam Raghaven, White House Liaison to the LGBT community

A second speaker, Gautam Raghaven, White House Liaison to the LGBT community, spoke of the need to continue to stimulate and grow the economy, and that is an issue that LGBT business owners should deeply care about…. because what is good for the economy is good for LGBT people.

Later on this week I will write a second blog connecting several aspects of the LGBT community to our country’s economy.