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A Step-by-Step Guide to LGBTBE Certification for Small Businesses

Stand out as a proud LGBTQ+ business owner. Gain a competitive edge and amplify your voice with the LGBTBE certification. This comprehensive guide will navigate you through the process, from understanding the benefits to meeting eligibility criteria, but also empower you to unlock the full potential of this recognition. It shows you how to leverage LGBTBE certification to connect with a wider LGBTQ+ audience, collaborate with like-minded businesses, and attract partners who share your values. By the end, you'll be equipped with the confidence and capability to turn your commitment to your community into a strategic advantage, fostering growth and inclusivity.

Understanding LGBTBE Certification

What is LGBTBE Certification?

LGBTBE Certification is granted through the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and recognizes your business as a verified, diverse, LGBTQ+ entity. This certification allows your business to compete for sourcing contracts with NGLCC's corporate and government partners, who are committed to creating a diverse supply chain that includes LGBTQ-owned businesses. Being certified opens up significant opportunities, including access to a proprietary database of corporate partners aimed at increasing spending with LGBTQ-owned enterprises.

Benefits of LGBTBE Certification

By obtaining LGBTBE Certification, your business can gain a unique set of advantages. It not only enhances your visibility and opens doors to networking events but also paves the way for strategic partnerships across diverse industries. Moreover, certified companies can access developmental support, including scholarship programs, mentorship, and leadership training. This certification is not just about business growth; it's about economic inclusion and the recognition of LGBTQ+ businesses as vital contributors to the broader financial landscape.

Eligibility Criteria for LGBTBE Certification

Ownership Requirements

To qualify for LGBTBE certification, your business must be at least fifty-one percent owned by LGBTQ individuals who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. This ownership must encompass operational and managerial control, ensuring that the majority owner's contribution of capital and expertise is proportional to their ownership stakes.

Operational Control

To qualify for LGBT business certification, your company must demonstrate strong LGBTQ+ leadership and independence. This means at least 51% of the business must be owned, operated, managed, and controlled by LGBTQ+ individuals who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Additionally, your business must operate independently, without affiliation or control by a non-LGBTQ enterprise. Finally, your headquarters and legal entity must be established within the United States to be eligible.  

Steps to Get LGBTBE Certification

  1. Complete the Online ApplicationInitiate the process by visiting to create your business profile. This is where you'll provide comprehensive details about your business and yourself. Once your profile is complete, you'll need to submit the necessary supporting documents to verify your business's eligibility for LGBTBE certification.

  2. Prepare for the Site VisitAfter your application submission, an NGLCC-trained site visitor will schedule a visit. This visit is crucial as it helps verify the information provided in your application and assesses the day-to-day operations of your business. There is no cost for this.

  3. Application Review ProcessOnce the site visit is complete, your application and the site visit report will be reviewed by the National Certification Committee. This committee meets monthly to review applications and make final decisions on certification. If approved, you will be contacted for any necessary follow-ups or directly receive your certificate and information about the orientation webinar.

Leveraging Your LGBTBE Certification

Networking Opportunities

Upon certification, you gain access to NGLCC’s extensive network, which includes over 360 corporate and government partners, all committed to fostering diversity. This network provides a platform to connect with hundreds of corporate representatives and supplier diversity professionals, facilitating the development of strategic relationships. Regular matchmaking and networking events across the country offer opportunities to meet these contacts face-to-face, thereby enhancing your business's growth potential.

Participation in NGLCC Programs

Your certification opens doors to exclusive NGLCC programs like Sip & Pitch Fridays and Webinar Wednesdays. These programs offer valuable opportunities for business exposure and constructive feedback from a panel of experts. The annual NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference provides a unique learning opportunity and engagement with a global community of LGBT and allied business leaders.

Marketing Your Certification

Highlighting your LGBTBE certification in marketing materials can significantly enhance your business’s visibility. Utilize the provided toolkit to display Certified LGBTBE® logos, email signatures, and business cards on your website. This not only showcases your commitment to diversity but also attracts corporations and government partners looking to support LGBTQ+ businesses, setting you apart in the competitive market.

Earning LGBTBE certification isn't just about embracing diversity; it's a strategic move that unlocks growth and connections within the LGBTQ+ community. This guide has equipped you to navigate the process, from understanding the benefits to maximizing its impact. With increased visibility, access to valuable partnerships, and a stronger voice for LGBTQ+ inclusion, your certified business is not just poised to thrive, but to lead in a growing market. Let's turn your commitment into action. Use this guide to achieve certification and become a leader in a growing market.

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