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Milwaukee to Host Its First LGBT Business Builder Event

Couresty of the Small Business Administration
Jason Rae of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Eric Ness Wisconsin District of the U.S. Small Business Administration sign a Strategic Alliance Memorandum, which formalizes their developing relationship and commits them to further development.

Small businesses are a vital part of Wisconsin's and the nation's economies. When these businesses struggle, it often portends deeper issues for the economy at large.

Access to tools and networking needed to start and grow your own business can be difficult to attain without the proper resources.

In America there are 1.4 million LGBT business owners, and 430 of them are here in Wisconsin. The state chapter of the Small Business Administration, the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce are joining forces in Milwaukee to bring LGBT businesses together. The LGBT Business Builderevent will take place July 21.

This event is the result the Strategic Alliance Memorandum that was signed in June. The U.S. Small Business Administration's Wisconsin District Office and the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce formalized their developing relationship and committed to further, ongoing collaboration.  

"We know that small businesses are innovators," says Eric Ness of the SBA's Wisconsin District. "We like working with small businesses. They're more creative and they don't have as much bureaucracy to go through."

According to Jonathan Lovitz of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, "LGBT-owned businesses innovate industries, create thousands of jobs, and contribute billions to the GDP every year."

Despite the economic benefits, LGBT-owned businesses still face discrimination in numerous states. Lovitz says, "If you are an LGBT business owner and you apply for credit at a bank for your business or a loan to help get you going, there are only twelve states in the country where you are legally protected from being discriminated against."

The Milwaukee LGBT Business Builder will be the eleventh event in a national series, and it will present businesses with NGLCC certification and connections, and SBA resources and services to help foster growth in the state.

"Our mission is really to help make sure that business is stronger, particularly our strong business partners, and that we are growing a diverse business community here in Wisconsin," says Jason Rae of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.