2012 Colombia Trade Mission
"Our goal was to increase LGBT business presence throughout the Americas," said Justin Nelson, NGLCC Co-Founder and President. "There is a hunger among the LGBT business community, not only in Colombia, but also in the United States and neighboring nations, to increase opportunities between our countries and access new markets in which to sell products and services."
The Summit brought together LGBT entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and community leaders from the U.S., Canada, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Uruguay. These thought leaders discussed important topics of trade, business development, tourism, corporate diversity and inclusion initiatives, and further establishing LGBT chambers of commerce throughout Latin America. The event culminated with a keynote address from U.S. Ambassador P. Michael McKinley and the launch of an NGLCC affiliate chamber in Colombia.
"As the national certifying body for LGBT business owners, we are people-driven first and foremost," said Mitchell. "We are launching an affiliate chamber in Colombia because we believe the best way to affect human rights is to be part of the business discussion. Business and profits can be great motivators for change."
NGLCC has deliberately focused on South America as an area for economic growth, starting with the organization’s first trade mission to Argentina in 2010. Colombia remains one of the biggest importers of U.S. goods, but markets for LGBT suppliers are still untapped. NGLCC made strides to change that with this trade mission comprised of more than 20 delegates, including LGBT business owners, affiliate chamber and community leaders, and corporate representatives.
In addition to opening new markets for LGBT business owners, establishing strong working relationships with other countries also benefits NGLCC corporate partners with multi-national operations such as delegation sponsors Delta Air Lines and Hilton Hotels.
"Ninety–five percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States," said Nelson. "Corporations need to expand business, and we must remember that more than 75 percent of U.S. exporters are small businesses. The NGLCC wants to make sure that LGBT businesses—and all our communities—are represented on this important international stage."