There’s green in being gay: LGBT businesses contribute $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), a trade group that represents businesses owned by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenders, reported this week that the typical LGBT business has been in business, on average, for more than 12 years and that LGBT businesses contribute more than $1.7 billion to the U.S. economy and have created more than 33,000 jobs.

The report serves as a reminder of the enormous and growing role LGBT entrepreneurs and business owners have in the United States. But it also sends a message to the community: if you’re an LGBT business then get certified as one. Otherwise, you’re missing out on some money.

More than 10 years ago the chamber created a certification program to recognize its best-in-class members. According to the chamber’s press release“over a third of the Fortune 500, many top federal agencies (including the Small Business Administration, Department of Transportation, and the Department of Agriculture), the Commonwealths of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, major urban municipalities (including King County, WA; Essex County, NJ; and San Francisco, CA), and the Public Utilities Commission of California actively seek out certified LGBT businesses

Is it wise for a gay business owner to shout out their sexual orientation to the world? After all, many in this country have objections to their lifestyle. The publicity could be harmful. Customers could be lost.

Then again, there’s customers to be won.

My takeaway?  If you’re an LGBT business owner, then get certified as one.  There’s green in being gay!

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