Push to Certify LGBTQ-Owned Businesses in NYC

Council member Ritchie Torres speaks about his proposed bill to bolster LGBTQ-owned businesses in New York City. (Photo by Matt Tracy via Gay City News)

New York City certifies minority and women-owned businesses, which confers a benefit when they seek city contracts. Now out gay New York City Council member Ritchie Torres has proposed legislation that would require the city’s Department of Small Business Services to offer similar certification to LGBTQ-owned businesses, and their inclusion in a directory. On Feb. 28, Torres was joined by business owners and members of the the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) outside City Hall, where he announced his introduction of the bill, reports Matt Tracy in Gay City News.

“Even though the LGBTQ community creates immense economic activity for NYC, and the city is known as a bastion of LGBTQ equality, there’s no certification that recognizes LGBTQ businesses as part of the diversity of the marketplace,” Torres said. “There are corporations looking for greater LGBTQ diversity in their contracting, and there are LGBTQ businesses looking for more opportunities. A certification would be a way to bridge the gap.”

Torres noted that New York City is currently “being outhustled by Nashville, Tennessee” and several other cities around the country that have already launched the same kinds of programs for LGBTQ-owned businesses. However, New York City would become the nation’s largest city to pass such a law.

The bill also includes a provision for the city to “facilitate educational programs for certified LGBTQ-owned businesses to bolster their participation in city procurement and inform contractors of opportunities to partner or subcontract with those businesses,” writes Tracy. Currently, businesses that are M/WBE-certified by the city have access to such programs. Go to Gay City News to read about what Jonathan D. Lovitz, senior vice president of the NGLCC, had to say about the need for such legislation, and to learn how soon it might be implemented by SBS following passage by the City Council.

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