How to move forward with LGBT Business Enterprise certification

Published by the Orlando Business Journal on October 8, 2012

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It’s important for companies owned by someone from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to get certified as an LGBT business enterprise, according to panelists at the “Pride in Business Luncheon,” hosted by Metropolitan Business Association of Orlando and the Central Florida LGBT Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 5 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel.

Companies that become LGBTBE-certified receive access to the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce database, which includes information for multiple corporations that take an interest in supplier diversity. And that can result in more business for certified firms.

MBA Orlando’s Corporate Development Director Jason Holstein said after certification, companies “develop a stronger understanding of how to leverage procurement opportunities now available to them.”

Speakers Lia Rogers, manager of supply chain diversity for Office Depot, and Sam McClure, director of affiliate relations and external affairs of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, gave some helpful tips on how to move forward once a business is certified:

• Define your core product and your firm’s ultimate goals. Identify companies that work with supplier diversity and also would work well with you. Tell that company what your business has to offer, but make sure you will get something in return.

• Once certified, pick five top corporate partners to work with and register with their online vendor systems. Make sure there can be a mutually beneficial relationship with the companies you choose. Choosing five companies keeps you focused, but also allows you to expand your business.

• If one of your top five companies is a large corporation, don’t focus on just that one company. Work with smaller businesses until you can reach that top goal to keep business flowing while giving you more experience as you reach for that larger corporation.

• Try not see other certified businesses strictly as competition; see them as support. Building a more inclusive and successful LGBT community leads to a more successful Central Florida community.


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