Hello Alice x NGLCC: Helping Diverse Business Connect and Grow
Boosting diverse businesses are at the heart of everything Hello Alice and the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) do. That is why these two organizations have partnered to increase resources and services to help LGBT and other minority-owned businesses grow.
Hello Alice, an online tool that helps businesses find funding and opportunities for growth, is collaborating with NGLCC to further their outreach support of LGBT-owned businesses.
“Minority owners are the backbone of our economy,” said Elizabeth Gore, the co-founder of Hello Alice. “They're the largest job creators, and I also think small business owners are the most important problem solvers in our community. Whether you're looking at food service, social services, business services, I just think that they're the fabric that keeps us all moving.”
Gore noted the importance of organizations like NGLCC, and how joining affinity groups in the business world based on one’s identity can strengthen business connections. This is a tool that NGLCC provides for LGBT-owned businesses through the certification program.
“We really encourage owners to join networks that are based in our industry, their affinity group, or sexual orientation, and we find that entrepreneurs are 70% more successful when they join the strong network,” Gore said.
It is important to break out of your traditional network and branch out, Gore emphasized. Because of this, Hello Alice encourages all businesses to join their network.
“Hello Alice is open to everyone, white straight men, African American women, LGBT+ and military. We ask people to register on how they identify so we can find great resources,” she said. “I think it’s very important to provide crossover functions and help people expand their network, but also address the issues that are unique to their individual demographic.”
Gore also noted NGLCC’s advocacy role in the LGBT business community, which includes campaigning for cities to include Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® companies in city contracting and procurement.
“The chamber does an incredible job advocating for the community ensuring they're getting the right access to capital and the rights that business owners deserve to get,” she said.
Helping business owners gain opportunities has been the main goal for the organization and Gore.
“My co-founder and I felt really strongly that there is a whole population of business owners who are not being network and supported,” she said. “And, frankly, they can make our country so much more successful. We thought it's a great social opportunity, but also a financial opportunity to really get the tools, resources and networks in the hands of these awesome owners.”
Gore noted the importance of minority businesses in the U.S. economy, and added why she thinks LGBT business owners have such success when building their businesses.
“The LGBTQ+ community particularly are so entrepreneurial as they have had to already have crossed a lot of hurdles in their life and become very resilient, strong leaders,” she said. “And that's why I think the LGBTQ community are also natural entrepreneurs.”
Hello Alice has recently launched a new program titled Business For All program. This program helps small businesses stay afloat in these trying times by providing emergency grants to businesses. NGLCC Senior Vice President Jonathan Lovitz also serves on the council for this program.
Gore noted the best action to take as a minority-owned business during the COVID-19 pandemic is to apply for emergency grants like Business For All. Due to closures and shifting standard business models, grants can help business owners stay afloat, she added. Businesses can learn more on how to apply for the Business For All program, as well as find additional details on how to help your business, by clicking here. Resources are divided by industry type and easy to navigate to ensure you get the help you and your business needs.
Gore is looking forward to continuing building Hello Alice further, and working with organizations like NGLCC.
“We have to provide a safe for underrepresented entrepreneurs to be lifted up. Period,” she said.
Learn more on how to certify your LGBT-owned business by visiting our website. For additional ways to help you, your business, and the LGBT community during this time, visit the NGLCC COVID-19 Resource Hub for the LGBT Business Community.