Since the beginning of the Biden Administration, Administrator Guzman has made it a top priority to advance inclusion and equity for LGBTQ+ small business owners. This Pride Month, the SBA is celebrating the everyday impact that LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs have in their communities and providing tips for how we can help these businesses continue to grow.
Entrepreneurs like Rachel Kalenberg and her partner, Ariane Jimison, envisioned a fun, inclusive space for artisan foods and memorable experiences in Gillette, WY. The couple contacted their local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to get their wood-fired mobile pizza oven, Pizza Carrello, up and running in 2011. Several workshops, trainings, and SBA-backed loans later, Pizza Carrello has grown from a modest food cart to a full-service, brick-and-mortar restaurant. Just recently, Kalenberg and Jimison were recognized as SBA’s 2023 Small Business Persons of the Year for Wyoming.
Through programs and other resources, the SBA is committed to supporting LGBTQ+-owned businesses around the country. Here are some tips that LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs can use to achieve their goals:
- Leverage the SBA’s Network for LGBTQ+ Businesses. SBA’s Network for LGBTQ+ businesses empowers its community through outreach, inclusion, and access to resources. It starts with SBA district offices, many of which have a strategic alliance with the LGBTQ+ community. Find the one nearest to you through a quick search.
- Obtain Your LGBTQ-Owned Small Business Certification. Did you know that you can get certified as an LGBTQ-owned business? The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) can help. Aside from being in high demand by NGLCC’s corporate partners seeking to increase their investments in the LGBTQ+ business community, certified businesses also benefit from scholarship programs, mentorship and training opportunities, and other business development tools after one year.
- Connect with an SBA Resource Partner. The SBA is proud to offer no- or low-cost counseling and training through its network of resource partners. At over 900 Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) nationwide, small business owners can find advising and technical assistance on everything from growth and expansion to productivity and innovation. SBA partner SCORE, America’s largest network of volunteer business mentors, connects entrepreneurs with mentors in their area. There are also Veterans Business Outreach Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and Community Navigators, the latter of which works to reduce barriers for underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs looking to tap into the programs they need to start, grow, expand, or recover their business.
- Consider Applying for an SBA-Guaranteed Loan. Individuals who may not qualify for traditional financing, can apply for SBA-guaranteed loans, which include competitive terms, lower down payments, and flexible overhead requirements. Ranging from small to large, SBA-guaranteed loans reduce lender risk and make it possible for owners to obtain funding for most business purposes, including long-term fixed assets and operating capital. Use the SBA’s Lender Match tool to explore your options.
The SBA is celebrating Pride Month with the LGBTQ+ business community. Be sure to see what events are in store at sba.gov/events.