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How and Why to Become a Certified LGBT-Owned Business

Oct 12, 2021

In one study, about one-third of LGBTQ+ small business owners revealed that they lost up to 50% of their business due to the coronavirus pandemic. While various programs assist minority and women-owned businesses, LGBTQ-owned businesses lack similar resources and benefits.

If you’re a business owner who identifies as gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender/non-binary, or asexual, NGLCC allows you to become a certified LGBT Business Enterprise. In turn, you can enjoy various benefits.

Here we’ve made an in-depth guide to understanding how and why you should become a certified LGBT-owned business:

What is a Certified LGBT-Owned Business?

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce created a certification program during its LGBT Supplier Diversity Initiative. Thus, NGLCCC is the certifying body that certifies businesses as LGBTBE if they meet specific criteria.

Here, we discuss the criteria that businesses must meet to become certified:

  • The businesses must be 51% owned, managed, run, and operated by a person(s) who identifies as part of the LGBT+ community. In addition, they must be either U.S. or lawful permanent citizens.
  • The company should operate independently from a non-LGBT business.
  • The organization should be headquartered in the U.S. as a legal, for-profit business.

Trans, non-gender conforming, and non-binary citizens are offered unique resources to get certified. Visit NGLCC’s website to learn more details.

The Steps to Becoming a Certified LGBT-Owned Business

In-depth research reveals that there are nearly 1.4 million LGBTQ+-run businesses across the U.S. In addition, these companies account for about $1.7 trillion in revenue annually.

If you’re planning to become a certified LGBT-owned business, it’s always a good idea to find out which documents you’re going to need. Follow these steps to get LGBTBE certification:

Curate Your Business Profile

The certification process may take anywhere between 60 to 90 days. However, most businesses end up getting certified within a single month.

To start creating your business profile, venture onto NGLCC.com. Here, you need to submit certain documents alongside the following information:

  • Contact info
  • Details about how you and your co-owners identify
  • Federal tax ID
  • Gross annual income
  • Number of full-time working employees
  • Social media accounts
  • Three references to help verify your information
  • Your business name

Apart from this, you’ll have to add a couple of lines to specify your industry and the services/products you offer.

Add the Required Documents

The next step to becoming a certified LGBTQ+-owned business is showing proof of your citizenship. It includes birth certificates, passports, and green cards. Simply scan your documents and upload them on the website.

You’ll also have to show your status as an LGBT+ business owner. Here, we’ve listed a couple of documents you can use to validate your status:

  • Documents for an apartment you leased with your partner
  • Certified document copy of civil union certification, domestic partnership registration, or marriage license
  • Documentation of petition for hospital visitation rights
  • Proof that you have joint property ownership or a domestic partnership health insurance
  • Two personal references that attest to your LGBTQ+ status

Verify, Pay, and Submit

Depending on whether you’re a partnership, sole proprietor, limited liability company, or corporation, the documents you’re required to fill may vary.

After completing your legal documents, NGLCC requires you to pay a fee of $400. Next, you need to submit everything to NGLCC and wait for them to review it.

Prepare for a Site Visit

Lastly, an NGLCC representative will visit your business site for a 30-minute interview. They will verify your info and understand how becoming a certified LGBT business will help you in your short-term and long-term goals.

If you work remotely, NGLCC allows you to schedule the interview at a public place such as a café. The representative will ask you straightforward questions like ‘why did you start your business,’ and so on.

After the interview and reviewing your application, you’ll get a decision. After the application is approved, you’ll receive an invite to join an orientation webinar. Here NGLCC helps you learn the benefits of its certification and how you can use them to the fullest.

Why Become a Certified LGBTQ-Owned Business?

Here we’ve listed the top benefits of becoming a certified LGBT owned business:

  • Certified LGBTQ-owned businesses can unlock an array of valuable and incredible corporate opportunities. You may even match with a supplier diversity professional who’ll assist you, and your business is reaching new levels
  • You can benefit from exclusive networking opportunities, NGLCC education and mentorships, and other business development tools
  • A study reveals that LGBTQ+ adults worldwide hold an incredible buying power of up to $3.7 trillion. It means that by becoming a certified LGBT owned business, you can boost sales and, in turn, your revenue
  • According to a study, an estimated of 5.6% U.S. adults identify as part of the LGBTQIA community. By becoming a certified LGBT-owned business, you can inspire young LGBT+ entrepreneurs to kick start their own business

The Bottom Line

According to in-depth research, businesses that promote gender and racial diversity and impose LGBT-friendly policies perform financially better.

Empower the LGBTQIA business community by becoming a certified LGBT-owned business. Visit NGLCC.org and get certified today!


$3,098,641,569 dollars funded