Supporting and Celebrating Entrepreneurship During LGBT Pride Month
by Karen Mills, Former SBA Administrator
- Created: June 27, 2013, 12:33 pm
- Updated: June 27, 2013, 12:33 pm
Today, there are more than 1.4 million LGBT-owned small businesses in the United States. These businesses play an important role in our economy and our communities.
At the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), we are working with the LGBT community to spur entrepreneurial activity and to ensure that more LGBT entrepreneurs have the tools and the resources they need to grow successful small businesses and create good jobs.
These are businesses like Pizzeria Paradiso in Washington, D.C. The owner, Ruth Gresser, used an SBA loan to expand her business and to better meet growing customer demand. They are businesses such as American Language Technologies, based in Plano, Texas, which SBA and our resource partners have worked with to identify government contracting opportunities. And they are businesses like Simonson’s Salon and Spa in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which also was able to expand and grow in a new location with the assistance of SBA-guaranteed loans.
All across the country we are building on these efforts. We are working closely with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) to ensure that more LGBT-owned businesses have access to SBA programs and services. We recently hosted the first-ever LGBT procurement event, with the U.S. Department of Commerce and 13 agencies, so that businesses can better identify and compete for government contracts. And we have a 13 city-tour launching next month, called Many Faces, One Dream, to encourage more people in the LGBT community to pursue entrepreneurship. We have partnered with the National Black Justice Coalition and Black Enterprise on this important initiative.
Last year, I also had the opportunity to help cut the ribbon at the Supplier Innovation Center, which is housed in NGLCC’s headquarters here in Washington. This is an important resource for burgeoning entrepreneurs and is helping business owners to scale their operations. We need more of these resources in communities across the country.
America’s small businesses are the engine of our economy. They create two out of three net new private sector jobs. And, today, half of all working Americans either own or work for a small business.
By embracing an inclusive vision of entrepreneurship, one that draws entrepreneurs from all communities, from all demographics and from all backgrounds, we will grow our economy, create good jobs and make America more globally competitive.
During LGBT Pride Month, we are reminded that America benefits when we draw from the entire spectrum of American diversity--driving innovation and creating a thriving economy in our communities and across our nation.
About the Author
Karen Gordon Mills is the Former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA helps both Main Street and high-growth small businesses get access to capital, counseling, federal contracts, disaster assistance and more.
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