WASHINGTON, June 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In a historic move, U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice announced a nearly $4 million partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) to encourage and support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) business owners and entrepreneurs in developing countries.
The unprecedented agreement, presented at a White House event, holds the promise of creating a more equitable business and cultural environment for LGBT people through economic empowerment.
"Unfortunately, in too many places, being gay or transgender is enough to make someone the target of slurs, torments and violence...protecting our LGBT brothers and sisters is among the most challenging human rights issues we face. Thanks to a new partnership between the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and USAID, we will provide business development training and build new networks to help economically empower the LGBT community. And, working together, we can be assured that the future belongs to those who stand up for freedom and human dignity," said Rice.
Rice's full remarks are available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/24/remarks-national-security-advisor-susan-e-rice-white-house-forum-global-.
At a later event, Vice President Joe Biden issued similar praise for the efforts of NGLCC and spoke about their importance.
The initiative creates an avenue for U.S. businesses to become trading and strategic partners with LGBT owners in program countries Mexico, Colombia and Peru. It also will encourage program country businesses to serve as suppliers to multinational corporations, in-country companies and government agencies, as well as become active in intra-regional trade and team with LGBT-owned businesses in the U.S. to respond to multinational contracting opportunities.
"We know the best way to break down barriers is to use the common language of business to expand minds and create opportunities. Trade and commerce creates jobs everywhere and more must be done to ensure our trading partners don't suffer from discrimination," said Justin Nelson, co-founder and president, NGLCC. "We are grateful to the Obama Administration and USAID for working with us to ensure everyone can participate in our increasingly global economy."
USAID will contribute $1.25 million to the partnership while NGLCC will put forth $2 million in privately raised funds. NGLCC will provide another $692,000 through in-kind and program services.
NGLCC is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global not-for-profit advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people.
USAID, which is the lead U.S. government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential, cited the need for economic growth and empowerment of underrepresented communities in developing countries and emerging markets as reasons for the initiative.
The partnership will:
- Help create a self-sustaining LGBT Chamber of Commerce in each country. NGLCC will start by identifying a core group of LGBT businesses and corporate sponsors willing to put their own time into establishing the organization. It will then equip them with numerous NGLCC tools and templates to build a critical mass of members, including a Chamber Outreach Campaign Toolkit, a country-specific outreach video and NGLCC's "Connect" e-newsletter.
- Develop and implement an international LGBT Supplier Diversity Initiative and link it to NGLCC's current LGBT Supplier and Corporate Partner Database. The registration process will be online, simple, quick and free to encourage participation from a community that faces significant societal, logistic, financial and systemic barriers.
- Provide numerous live capacity-building, partnering and business-development trainings. For each country, NGLCC will first conduct an in-country needs analysis of LGBT small and medium business enterprises and the broader business community. Following these steps, it will co-plan and deliver an LGBT Summit of the Americas where LGBT business owners can build relationships with multinational corporations, small-business associations, diversity-based non-government organizations (NGOs), travel/tourism boards, government small-business/export programs and key U.S. agencies.
- In subsequent years, NGLCC will create a Chamber launch event and training, covering board-building, corporate partnering, and member recruitment and education. It will also create a training session that will include a board retreat providing organizational development training to board members and business development programming to LGBT enterprises specific to that country, based on the needs analysis and member input.
Additional activities include on-demand virtual trainings and all board webinars.
NGLCC is the exclusive, third-party certification body that verifies that 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.
USAID has expanded its investments through centrally funded awards, mission-funded programs and the LGBT Global Development Partnership, totaling, for July 2012 to December 2013, investments of approximately $11 million in stand-alone programs and $301 million in programs that include LGBT beneficiaries (e.g. HIV/AIDS) in almost 40 countries worldwide. Funding has built the capacity of local NGOs by having LGBT beneficiaries play a key role in programming, provided health solutions and supported victims of violence.
The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global not-for-profit advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people.
Seeing new opportunities for community advocacy, specifically in the economic arena, the NGLCC was founded as the exclusive company for certification as a LGBT-owned businesses. NGLCC is the direct link between corporations, governments and LGBT businesses and entrepreneurs.