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LGBT-owned businesses contribute an estimated $1.7trillion to US economy

LGBT-owned businesses contribute an estimated $1.7trillion to US economy

Justin Nelson, co-founder and President of NGLCC

A report into the impact of LGBT-owned businesses on the US economy has estimated that they contribute around $1.7trillion.

The study, America’s LGBT Economy, was conducted by National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and Bob Witeck, of Witeck Communications.

The latter has been compiling estimates of LGBT spending power for the past two decades.

NGLCC has been running since 2002. The study looked at the financial contribution of NGLCC’s 909-strong member enterprises (LGBTEs).

The report found that NGLCC-certified LGBTBEs alone contributed over $1.15 billon to the US economy: the 900 certified businesses provided employment for 33,000 people in the US.

Other key findings included:

  • LGBTBEs have an average revenue of $2,475,642, with at least one LGBTBE reporting $180,000,000 in annual gross;
  • Average LGBT enterprises have been in business at least 12 years— far above national average, as some reports state nearly half of small businesses fail in their first five years;
  • The number of non-white LGBT business owners continues to increase annually—now at over 17%, bolstered by NGLCC’s leadership in the National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC) which brings together all minority business communities.

NGLCC is the only nationwide organization that provides recognized certification for LGBTEs.

Last year, one of the LGBTEs it certified, California’s Equator Coffee and Tea, won an award for being Small Business of the Year from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

A handful of states and cities now ensure a portion of federal contracting goes to certified LGBT-owned businesses, as certified by the NGLCC. These include San Francisco and the Commonwealths of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

NGLCC also says over a third of Fortune 500 corporations also actively seek out LGBTE-certified businesses to add to their supply chain.

Beyond the 900 business it has certified, NGLCC works for the economic interests and business advocacy needs of all of America’s estimated 1.4 million LGBT business owners. Witeck’s figures are based on this 1.4million estimate.

‘The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is elated to be able to evidence through this report what we’ve observed since our founding fifteen years ago: that America’s LGBT business owners are driving our economy upward and deserve every opportunity to keep creating jobs and innovating our industries,’ said NGLCC co-founder and President, Justin Nelson in a statement.

‘The estimated 1.4 million LGBT business owners NGLCC advocates for have truly earned a place at the equality table.’

‘These numbers tell the real story,’ said analyst Bob Witeck, President of Witeck Communications.

‘While our community’s $917 billion spending power highlights our market clout, the jobs, tax revenues and profits we create as employers and entrepreneurs define our full economic value to America. We are just beginning to scratch the surface of our potential.’

The full report reveals more information on NGLCC’s 909 members, which range in size from sole proprietors up to S- and C-corporations. Business owners identified as 31.8% female and 67.6% male, with 0.6% not specifying gender. Transgender owners made up 1.8%.

GSN asked Nelson what hopes he had for the forthcoming Trump administration, and what impact it might have for NGLCC’s members.

‘This report shows how invaluable LGBT businesses are to the economic health of this country, a fact which we hope our government continues to celebrate by working with our community.

‘This new administration and Congress will require all of us to double down on the most essential core value of the NGLCC: that our economy only succeeds when the American Dream is available to all LGBT and allied Americans.’