Still not convinced by the benefits of being certified as an LGBT-majority owned business? San Francisco’s Golden Gate Business Association (GGBA) has said that 77 LGBT-owned businesses have registered for the National Football League’s Business Connect Program, ahead of Super Bowl 50.
Super Bowl 50 is due to take place 7 February at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. In November 2014, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced that besides welcoming contractor bids from women, veteran and minority-ethnic owned enterprises the Business Connect Program would also be reaching out to LGBT-certified businesses.
It’s the first Super Bowl to embrace the LGBT business community in this way, reflecting wider changes across California. In 2014, California Assembly Bill 1678, opened up procurement opportunities for LGBT businesses with California public utility companies.
In November, Massachusetts became the first US state to offer LGBT businesses special access to government contracts, just like business enterprises owned by other minorities.
‘The inclusion of LGBT-owned businesses to the NFL’s Business Connect Program was important on the local, national and international level, and I am proud that the GGBA was the organization that took this opportunity over the goal line,’ stated GGBA Vice President Paul Pendergast to the SF Bay Times.
‘Locally, our members have had the chance to actively compete with other businesses to win contracts. On the national level, we have created a new playing field for LGBT businesses, and we’ve already been in discussion with Houston’s Planning Committee, which is next year’s Super Bowl Destination City, to keep this level of inclusion moving forward.
‘With the Super Bowl being a world-class event—we are showcasing to the world that LGBT-owned businesses are a critical part of the economic fabric in our communities.’
One of those to secure work has been photographer Christopher Dydyk, who told Gay Star Business that securing NFL work proved relatively straight forward – after he’d spent the previous 2-3 years re-establishing himself after he and his partner relocated to San Francisco in 2012.
‘Essentially, I had to begin my career all over again,’ he says of the relocation. ‘Meeting new people, business contacts and winning job bids.
‘It was in late 2012 that I joined the GGBA. Not long after, I began volunteering my photography services at their events. This helped me both meet people and gain exposure through the GGBA postings of the images I took.
‘Unknown to me, the GGBA had been hard at work forging a relationship with the SB50 Host Committee for the inclusion of LGBT businesses. In November of 2014 the SB50 Host Committee had their first ‘Business Connect’ meeting in San Francisco. The GGBA had quite a presence there.
‘I made a point out of searching out and introducing myself to the key members of the Host Committee. I am a firm believer that face-to-face is always better than email, phone meetings, or blind contract bidding. People like to hire who they know and trust.
‘There are a lot of great photographers out in the world and in order to get business something has to set me apart from the pack. I would hope it is my end product, but it most definitely includes an easy going personality, a strong work ethic, self-confidence, humility and professionalism. These are qualities that are hard to convey unless a person can look into your eyes.
‘So, it was from my meeting and chatting with some of the members of the SB50 Host Committee that the opportunity for a job bid came in, it was the day after the first Business Connect. I immediately wrote up a bid and sent it off to the communications director. A few days later, I got an email back stating that I had won the bid and would be photographing the Twitter Feed Launch of the #50Fund at the host committees home office.’
That assignment has been followed by others, and Dydyk is looking forward to nine consecutive days of photographing events leading up to SB50.
‘In my years as a photographer, I have shot many events, but I would have to say that the SB50 host committee is one of my most favorite to work with. They have a stellar staff, are amazingly organized and are a blast to work with.’
The GGBA says that other San Francisco-based businesses to benefit include Got Light, David Perry Public Relations, BluePrint Studios, Outsmart Office Solutions, JJardine Catering and Leftwich Events, among others.
Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for the Super Bowl 50 host committee, told the Bay Area Reporter that the group has undertaken ‘significant outreach’ to the San Francisco’s LGBT business community to alert it to the contracting possibilities associated with the NFL’s most high-profile game.
‘It certainly is the best in Super Bowl history. We hope to set a trend for every Super Bowl from now on.’
The development has been welcomed by the US’s National Gay and Lesbian and Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) – the only national organization to offer LGBT business certification.
‘With the Super Bowl seeking NGLCC certified LGBT Business Enterprises for contracting, they are echoing a best practice of corporate America: equality of opportunity is good for business,’ said Jonathan D. Lovitz, NGLCC’s Vice President of External Affairs, in relation to Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco and Super Bowl 51 in Houston in 2017.
‘Intentional inclusion of LGBT owned businesses creates jobs and drives economic growth in the cities where these massive sporting events are held. The positive visibility this brings the LGBT community is a powerful force against those who would deny equal access to the American Dream in Texas and across the country.’
Main image: Broncos vs 49ers at the opening of Levi’s Stadium in 2014, by Jim Bahn, licensed under CC by 2.0 via Commons