Orlando becomes first Florida city to recognize LGBTQ-certified businesses

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Mayor Buddy Dyer, City Commissioner Patty Sheehan and members from both the Metropolitan Business Association (MBA Orlando) and the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) gathered at Se7enBites in Orlando to announce a new LGBTQ business initiative April 2.

The LGBTQ+ Business Inclusion Resolution allows the city to develop a database and registry of LGBTQ-certified businesses with the NGLCC that will track city contracts and spending with LGBTQ-owned businesses and ensure the inclusion of LGBTQ-owned businesses in Central Florida.

“Having local businesses, unique businesses, is what the fabric of Orlando is all about,” Dyer said. ”The resolution that we are announcing today will help the city continue to be a welcoming place for business.”

The resolution will allow LGBTQ-certified businesses to access the same resources and training programs offered by the city to minority-owned, woman-owned and veteran-owned businesses. Similar initiatives have been established in cities across the U.S., however Orlando is the first city in Florida to do so.

Sheehan publicly thanked MBA Orlando for standing “on the forefront when no one else would.” She also thanked several members of the city, including Dyer, for supporting this resolution.

“At the national level there are so many things happening that are divisive and not inclusive,” Sheehan said. ”I think it is so important that cities lead, so I want to thank Mayor Dyer for his leadership that we can push forward initiatives that respect and include everyone in our community that is so very, very important.”

NGLCC representative Sabrina Kent echoed Sheehan’s sentiment and said Orlando is the first Florida city to say to the LGBTQ business community, ”We see you, we value you and we want to work with you.”

“As a Central Florida native, I am so proud to be home for this monumental occasion,” Kent said. ”While we have a long way to go for LGBT equality in the region, the south has always had a strong and growing network of NGLCC-certified LGBT business enterprises and LGBT-owned companies. We hope this policy here in Orlando will encourage more mayors to proactively include the LGBT community for the optimum social and economic health of their cities.”

The resolution is not only seen as socially responsible, but fiscally responsible as well. According to an NGLCC report, America’s 1.4 million LGBTQ-business owners put $1.7 trillion and tens of thousands of new jobs into the national economy every year.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the NGLCC has offered LGBTQ business certification since 2009 and now has around 1,200 businesses across the country with the designation. MBA Orlando has nearly 300 member businesses, about 10 percent of which are certified through the national chamber as LGBTQ-owned.

Orlando City Council will officially vote on the resolution April 8.

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