Anne Stott

Biggest Gathering Ever of LGBT Business Owners Comes to Vegas

Queer entrepreneurs discuss challenges, opportunities at NGLCC leadership conference

In a year of historic changes and challenges, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender business owners will meet in an unprecedented gathering organized by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) to brainstorm and get energized about how to take their businesses to the next level of success.

The 2014 National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce National Business and Leadership Conference, taking place July 29–August 1 in Las Vegas, will occur against a backdrop of reports that the economic climate is improving as LGBT acceptance grows. More than 700 business owners, from across the U.S. and countries as far away as Argentina, will connect with Fortune 100 companies, as well as learn about federal government contracting opportunities. Participants include directors and supporters of an extended network of local affiliated chambers.

“More than 140 major corporations work directly with NGLCC to access certified LGBT suppliers and this conference is an important way to make those connections,” says Justin Nelson, co-founder and CEO of NGLCC, which is the business voice of the LGBT community. “We also will be reviewing the latest research about the $800 billion spending power behind LGBT consumers. Most importantly, this is a premier networking conference. Business owners go away with new leads that directly help their bottom line.”

At the event, NGLCC will organize hundreds of matchmaker meetings between certified LGBT Business Enterprises and corporate procurement professionals. The meetings are based on actual upcoming opportunities within the procurement chains of participating buyers. They are an opportunity to learn more about what it takes to do business with corporate America and special programming offered by NGLCC corporate partners to diverse business owners.

NGLCC is the exclusive, third-party certification body that verifies eligible businesses are majority-owned by LGBT individuals and subsequently grants LGBT Business Enterprise designation to such businesses as part of its LGBT Supplier Diversity Initiative.

The conference will feature a keynote address from fitness guru and LGBT entrepreneur Shaun T, celebrity trainer and creator of the “INSANITY” workout and “Focus 25.” His breakthrough “INSANITY” program debuted in 2009 and continues to be the No. 1 selling infomercial on TV.

Marcus Lemonis, American business leader, investor, television personality and philanthropist, will also deliver remarks. He is the star of CNBC’s Primetime hit reality series The Profit, where he lends his expertise to struggling small businesses and helps turn them around.

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the Export-Import Bank will educate NGLCC members about export financing, how to find importers, strategic partners and other ways to explore trade opportunities. Additional sessions will look at diversity in the legal profession and how to grow a business no matter its size.

The full agenda is available at: http://www.nglcc.org/events/2014-national-business-leadership-conference.

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