How to Certify as an LGBT Business – and Enter a Corporate Supply Chain



Did you know that right now America’s LGBT business owners — all 1.4 million of them — are contributing over $1.7 trillion to the United States economy?

They’re creating tens of thousands of jobs and innovating in every industry sector.

IBM is a proud partner — in fact, the very first partner — in the work of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, empowering these businesses, helping them grown, and collaborating with them as both new business customers and invaluable parts of the IBM supply chain.

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to expanding the economic opportunities and advancements for the LGBT business community.

Through a network of over 40 affiliate chambers across America, along with over a dozen NGLCC Global affiliates around the world, NGLCC is creating equity and opportunity for LGBT businesses to thrive.

Through direct contracting and procurement, mentorship, access to capital, and the NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference, NGLCC is helping these companies find every possible resource and opportunity available to them.

Why does supporting the LGBT business community matter so much? Because as former Congressman Barney Frank once said, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

Every year America’s largest corporations (including IBM), along with local, state, and federal agencies spend tens of billions of dollars in procurement contracts for everything from office supplies to jet engine parts.

To help give an equal, level playing field to the diverse communities that have redefined and innovated America’s small businesses, those companies and government agencies have instituted Supplier Diversity programs.

Now certified LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs) have a seat at the table to showcase their top quality goods and services.

Supplier Connection

Supplier Connection certainly has provided LGBTBEs with a seat at the table.

“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender” is one of the 14 diversity categories business owners can select on the platform.

Business owners who claim a diversity status on Supplier Connection are asked if they hold a certification and many corporate buyers require one to award a contract.

NGLCC is the preeminent provider of LGBT certifications in the country.

How to register your LGBT Business Enterprise

The process is quick, easy, and secure — and you’ll have help along the entire path to getting certified.

Remember: certification is national, membership is local. NGLCC certification fees are waived for members of your local affiliate chamber.

If your business is 51 percent or more LGBT-owned, start the process here — and follow these four simple steps:

1) Visit to start your business profile 

(Tell us more about yourself and your business)

2) Submit Supporting Documents

(Once you begin your business profile, an NGLCC team member will reach out to help you through this step where you present information on your company)

3) Complete a site visit with an NGLCC trained site visitor 

(The site visitor will corroborate the information in your application and learn more about your business in the process)

4) Await National Certification Committee Review

(Our National Certification Committee meets monthly and will review your application to certify your business as an LGBTBE)

In addition to contracting opportunities, NGLCC certified LGBTBEs also gain access to exclusive mentorships, scholarships, access to capital, and other invaluable services to help their businesses grow.

Want to learn more and connect with the LGBT business community? Join us and get certified today at


Jonathan Lovitz is senior vice president at the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. He is a regular speaker and commentator on LGBT economic empowerment.