Happy Hispanic Heritage Month from NGLCC!

| By Sarah Jester

Beginning each year on September 15 and coming to a close on October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to recognize, honor, and uplift the multitude of accomplishments and contributions that Hispanic individuals have made and continue to make. At the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), we are proud to spotlight our Hispanic LGBT-owned businesses that are leading the way in their respective fields!

This month, we interviewed three Hispanic Certified LGBTBE® owners about their entrepreneurial journeys and businesses.

Let it Roar Creative

Founded by Megan Rojas, Let it Roar Creative is a Florida-based design studio.

“[We focus] on creative storytelling, print and digital design, 2D & 3D animation, immersive experiences, themed entertainment, videography & photography and UX/UI design,” explained Rojas.

Let it Roar Creative works on projects for a wide variety of clients, including those in live entertainment, sports, museums, education, art galleries, and more. Rojas attributes her company’s success and uniqueness to both the cultural and career diversity that comprise her team.

“We have team members who have worked on feature films, tv shows, live shows at Walt Disney World and other themed experiences, as well as, projects we've done in South Africa, Latin America and Canada,” she said.

Rojas obtained NGLCC’s LGBTBE certification for Let it Roar Creative in order to find community, support, and networking opportunities. Her certification has helped her to increase the visibility of her work to larger corporations that are pushing for increased supplier diversity & inclusion.

“It's difficult at times to break through the walls of corporate America without distinguishing yourself in some way, and without having true advocates to be a voice for you within their organizations,” Rojas said.

When asked what advice she would provide to aspiring Hispanic LGBT entrepreneurs, Rojas suggested leaning into what makes you different.

“Our culture, our history, the struggles of our communities, as well as our triumphs are what help fuel the passion that makes us magnetic and unique,” she explained. “It's truly a gift to be a member of the Hispanic community and the LGBT community because it gives us a perspective that allows us to better understand the needs and desires of those that we serve. We can be more creative in the products and services we offer, and cater to a more globally diverse community and break the mold of mainstream companies.”

Kikos Coffee & Tea

Located in Revere, Massachusetts, Kikos Coffee & Tea is an importer and distributor of coffee and tea, particularly from Colombia, to a variety of grocery stores, supermarkets, and other retailers. The company kickstarted with a single coffee product in 2019 and now boasts 24 different coffees, 15 teas, and more.

When asked what was unique about his business, founder Juan Arroyave discussed the importance of having a positive impact on his community.

“Even though we are a small business, we strive to give back to our community,” he said. “Every day should be the day to thank those around us. Our family and friends, clients, vendors, colleagues, even those that have challenged us along the way, because thanks to all of them, we are who we are now.”

The Kikos Coffee & Tea Foundation not only encourages customers to donate to selected nonprofits and foundations during checkout, but also partners with communities in need across the globe. Kikos Coffee & Tea is also dedicated to reducing or offsetting the carbon footprint of their deliveries.

“Even though showing appreciation can be enough, we believe that helping those around us and positively impacting our communities can achieve great things in society,” Arroyave explained. “This is why we created the Kikos Coffee & Tea Foundation.”

Ever since joining the NGLCC, Arroyave has cited countless benefits for his network and business, as well a renewed sense of community.

“I joined the community because I wanted to belong; I wanted to be part of something greater, a race where everyone is the winner because we support each other,” he said. “You can start with coaching, education, networking, support, getting to know your community, seminars, sales boosts. More importantly, I have met amazing people doing great things!”

Like Megan Rojas, Arroyave also had fruitful advice to offer to Hispanic LGBT individuals that are interested in becoming entrepreneurs.

“Work hard, be patient and rely on the community,” Arroyave said. “Networking is the key to your success. You will face discrimination, but let that be your fuel to make things happen!”

Kikos Coffee & Tea is offering a special promotion for NGLCC members for Hispanic Heritage Month, accessible here! Use code NGLCCHISPANIC with a minimum purchase of $20. Active through October 15.

Trans Equity Consulting

Trans Equity Consulting is a consulting firm focusing on developing LGBTQ affirming services, establishing genuine equity in the workplace, and shepherding in new generations of change makers. Their services include workshops & trainings, organizational development and campaign strategy, lobbying, storytelling, conflict mediation, and more.

“[Our] consulting company [helps] the government, nonprofits and corporations see gender with a lens inclusive of trans and non-binary people,” said founder Cecilia Gentili. “We are committed to uplifting the lives of trans and queer folks, specially transgender women of color.”

Gentili proudly employs 10 transgender individuals, with the majority of them being people of color. She explained that as a member of the trans community, joining the NGLCC gave her a fortified sense of self empowerment.

“As a transgender woman of color, I struggle with belonging  to spaces,” Gentili said. “Being part of NGLCC gave just that: a sense of belonging. Plus all the extra exposure and business!”

Gentili had sage words to offer to Hispanic LGBT individuals looking to start their own business in the future.

“You are an asset everywhere,” she said. “Your experience can be your job!”

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The mission of the NGLCC Communities of Color Initiative (CoCi) is to support the growth and success of minority LGBT-owned businesses through certification and business development by creating equal opportunities for the economic advancement and the empowerment of the minority LGBT business community. Visit nglcc.org/coci to learn more and get involved.

Visit nglcc.org/get-certified to become a part of the NGLCC community!