GGBA Wins NGLCC Chamber Affiliate Award

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One thing we’re proud of at the GGBA is our ability to show up for our membership and our fellow chambers across the nation. It’s great to be recognized for our efforts and it is an honor to attend a conference with so many great businesses and dedicated corporate partners.
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Member Spotlight: Perform for Life

Dr. Krystal Drwencke, VP of membership, GGBA

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How did Perform for Life get started?

Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach, Bryant Sharifi, had been working in the fitness industry for 7 years when he decided to ditch the corporate model and create something that was in line with his values. He and wife Justine, who was working as a Registered Nurse at the time, imagined a gym that was the perfect marriage between creating a welcoming community for clients and a home for true technicians who desire to improve their craft. Rather than the trainer emphasizing sales, they could focus on education and evidence based practice in order to deliver a personalized quality service. In 2014 co-founders Bryant and Justine opened Perform for Life, and with their vision, are dedicated to leaving the industry better than they found it.

Is P4L just a gym?

To us and to many others, P4L is a second home. Everyone is welcome, and we pride ourselves on meeting our athletes and clients where they are at. Whether you’ve been working out all your life or you’re just starting out, you’re welcome in our family.

What type of people do you work best with?

We don’t really have one type of client. The best people to work with are those who have recognized that health is wealth. You only have one body- instead of waiting for your body to break down, we believe in strengthening or repairing it to help you perform better in sport, work, and most importantly life. We realize their is a huge emphasis on body image in the media but we have an evolved emphasis at P4L- and look at it as a lifestyle approach. I think where we can especially make a big impact on are those who have had injuries and want to get back to having a better quality of life doing things they love,

or people just starting to make fitness a part of their lifestyle. At P4L, we specialize in building your body from the inside out.

What does being a GGBA member mean to you?

Many members in our community identify as LGBTQ+, so being a GGBA member holds a special place in our hearts. It’s another form of community and an inclusive, supportive environment.

Do you have any advice for new businesses that are in start-up mode?

1) Start with a vision that is true to your heart and soul and really be genuine about it. Your “tribe” will come to you and appreciate what you have to offer, so stay true to yourself. You will make plenty of mistakes along the way. Embrace them and learn from them- being resilient is the only way to grow your business and your dream. Be bold, take action and always strive to deliver exceptional service.

2) Also, develop a business that has a few “onlys” within your competition so that you really stand out and there is no competition! For example, we are the only team of personal trainers in San Francisco (and maybe beyond) who all have degrees in Kinesiology/Exercise Science and are certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists and Certified Corrective Exercise Specialists.

Be sure to catch more of Bryant and Justine at the upcoming Make Contact on August 8th!

Do you want to share your story in the GGBA member spotlight? We want to hear from you! Contact Krystal Drwencke, VP of membership, at membership@ggba.com

LGBT Business Leader Spotlight: Guy de Lacrose

By Anna Colibri

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Guy de Lacrose, a well-dressed man in his 60s, is one of those rare human beings who defies expectations, inspires you to do your best, and helps you feel the warmth of his personality while he does it.

A serial entrepreneur, Guy’s different businesses have been National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) certified Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transexual Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs) since 2013. His most recent project, Karasel Technologies, LLC, is the parent company of the Korral app, which won first place at the 2016 NGLCC Business Pitch, which earned his company $10,000 in cash and $20,000 in branding by CMYK, a New York-based certified LGBTBE branding agency.

Read on to find out more about Guy, his work, and his commitment to the GGBA and NGLCC, along with his interesting and unique achievements and world views.

About Guy de Lacrose

A sixth generation St. Tropezien, Guy has lived in San Francisco for almost 40 years and now considers himself a proud Californian. In fact, he surprised me by knowing the year and duration of California’s Bear Flag Rebellion (1846 and three weeks, to be exact). How many native Californians can say the same?

Family life consists of husband Francis de Lacrose, with whom he has been married for three years. They were married on Nob Hill at his brother’s home, not far from the couple’s own Nob Hill home. Weekends are often spent with Guy’s son from a previous marriage and two grandkids, with one on the way. As Guy says, “We are a close-knit family.”

Professional Life

Almost 30 years ago, after Guy sold one of his businesses, a friend who owned a transportation company asked him to help drive a few clients for him. As Guy tells it, “My first job was to drive the then King of Norway from his hotels to the consulate and to visit his friends.”

After a royal start to his career in transportation, Guy was offered a job to join a husbanding business, which is a maritime transportation service. He was in charge of the largest gathering of tall ships (three masted vessels) in the Bay Area in 1999 for the sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) of California. After successfully organizing this large event, Guy was put in charge of all transportation services for the US Navy vessels in North America and organized fleet weeks across the country.

Following his stint with the navy, Guy bought and sold various auto businesses, the last one being a group and tour business that he sold a year and a half ago to concentrate on his latest venture, which is a transportation app inspired by his work with the San Francisco Travel Association (SFTA). Because he was managing all the transportation for the SFTA for their convention organizers and executive committee meeting, he saw up close their professional frustration at dealing with issues like surge pricing from ride hailing companies and long lines for taxis.

Karasel Technologies, LLC

Guy, with his extensive experience in the San Francisco travel, transportation, and tourism industries, knew there were many alternatives, and that was how he came up with the concept of being able to access comparative pricing. “A bit,” says Guy, “like Kayak, or the other online pricing sites.” Guy’s next step was to find a developer, Dan Lopez, and a director of marketing, Fred Arellano, to round out the Karasel Technologies, LLC team.

Developed to solve the problem of managing different ride services and changing price points, the Korral app allows people to shop in real time for ride services and ultimately to book rides directly from the app. All of this comes at no direct cost to the consumer. Simple yet brilliant!

With the Korral app you can:

  • See all local services
  • Book with the provider directly (currently Wingz and DriveForce)
  • Select the desired type of service (standard, chauffeur, or pool)

The ultimate goal is to allow direct booking from the app for all local providers. Says Guy, “We want the app to be convenient, time-saving, and easy to use.”

When asked why he likes the transportation business, Guy has this to say: “The appeal of the transportation business is that I love the San Francisco Bay Area. You meet new and like-minded people all the time, and you can help them find all of the beautiful spots in the area. The basis of all the work I have done, whether it has been transportation, large events, or tourism, is service. I want to serve my clients as best as possible.”

App Marketing

Guy’s approach to app marketing is very different from standard app launches, which often rely on big digital marketing budgets. “Knowing the market,” says Guy, “especially in SF, which is an innovation city, I know that it is very, very expensive to do marketing programs. The strategies we wanted to use and the targets we are focusing on are the conventions.”

“The convention organizers loved the Korral app idea. This kind of partnership with the SF Travel Association will benefit them and their conventioneers as well as us.

“A second avenue of marketing is that, as we are part of NGLCC, we have lots of companies that have programs for diverse suppliers, and we have already half a dozen companies that are interested in pushing us with their employees to manage their travel costs.”

Expansion

“We are starting in San Francisco, but will adapt to the providers in the other cities. Our director of marketing (Fred Arellano) is in the process of building partnerships with all the local partners.” The next planned cities are Los Angeles, followed by New York.

We are also looking for investors for the second phase to develop an Android version in addition to the iOS version and move into new cities.

Major Challenges

Although Korral app’s ride has so far been a smooth one, I asked Guy about challenges. “I needed to be really patient during the app development process, but I have two great partners who are very well-grounded and resourceful, so that supported me through it. We are a good team,” he said. “The other challenges are typical business challenges: how to meet the right people and how to convince them our idea is a good one and they should be involved.”

GGBA & NGLCC

I asked Guy about his association with the GGBA and NGLCC, and he said that the main reasons he is certified are “all of the support and the local resources and events.”

Guy regularly attends Make Contacts, and singled out the Mega Make Contact at the LGBT Center, the March Make Contact held in conjunction with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce March at the Women’s Center, and the June Make Contact at The Tenderloin Museum. He also regularly attends the NGLCC Conference, and will be in Las Vegas this year with his husband. Of course, winning the 2016 Biz Pitch stands out as a highlight.

The Value of Certification

Asked about the value of LGBTBE certification, Guy says, “[It’s] the contacts that you can make, the ideas you can share, the connection you feel, and the community you have, and the ability to contribute to the LGBT business community. For example, I am pushing a fellow gym member, who showed a film at Sundance, to join right now.”

As my time with Guy drew to a close, I asked Guy more about his life perspective.

Why Guy Loves the Bay Area

“It’s a fun place to live in,” says Guy. “It’s a fantastic hotbed of idea exchange, of innovation, and shows that at any age you can start something in the technology sector. The energy of creativity is powerful in the Bay Area.”

What It Means to Be Gay

“When you are a member of a minority group it is important to be open and inclusive. I was bisexual for many years, and then I met Francis. It is a sign of a small mind to judge people for their choices. You cannot be anyone else’s shoes. I hope to be a kind and open person, but when I am not my husband quickly puts me back on track!”

Advice to Business Owners at Any Age or Stage

“Follow your dreams. Work hard. Enjoy life. But mainly, follow your dreams and don’t give up and don’t give yourself limitations. I’ve been running on and off my whole life and then eight years ago I decided to run the Midnight Sun Run Marathon, an AIDS fundraiser, in Alaska. I trained for 6 months and completed the marathon at 58. It was an absolutely exhilarating experience. I cried across the finish line.”

Find Out More

If you are interested in the Korral app, you can download the Korral app here. Want to meet Guy? Register for an upcoming GGBA Make Contact.

Board Member Receives Wells Fargo Scholarship

GGBA Board Director Receives Wells Fargo Dartmouth Scholarship to

Attend “Growing the Minority Business to Scale” Summer Course

 

Aaron Lander

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Founder & CEO
PopUpsters

 
We are pleased to announce that Founder & CEO of GGBA partner, PopUpsters, GGBA Board Director and Events Chair, Aaron Lander, has been selected as a scholarship recipient by Wells Fargo for the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College summer course “Growing the Minority Business to Scale”.

Wells Fargo, a proud GGBA partner and LGBT business supporter, has dedicated $100K in scholarships to the program to cover the cost of the course and accommodations, five of which are specifically for LGBT business owners. The course, which runs from June 25th (his 30th Birthday) through June 30th, focuses on building a scalable business.

“This is a great opportunity to learn more about growing PopUpsters. I’ve had great mentors that are continuously helping me run my business, but this course will provide me with the tools and resources to overcome the challenges LGBT and other minority businesses face, something that is core to PopUpsters’ mission as a Public Benefit Corporation,” Lander said. A Public Benefit Corporation is a for-profit company with a social mission.

Lander first became partners with the GGBA when PopUpsters helped with the Business Pop-Up Expo at Hotel Kabuki. Since then he has taken advantage of all the GGBA has to offer.

“I’ve benefited from being part of the GGBA on not only a business level but personally as well. Last year, thanks to the GGBA, I was selected as a Top 30 Under 30 NextGen LGBT Leader by Coca-Cola. That and the amazing ability of the GGBA to make connections has really pushed me to a new level,” Lander continued. “Being part of something bigger has really made a huge difference. I would never have opportunities like this scholarship from Wells Fargo, the Coca-Cola Fellowship or all the friendships and business relationships I have solidified, if the GGBA didn’t exist. I love my new family!”

Aaron also recently attended the EQCA Leadership Academy, an weekend-long program to help LGBT individuals to strive to get appointed to State commissions or public office, with the support of the GGBA.

If you are interested in finding out about membership in the GGBA and taking advantage of all the GGBA has to offer, please contact Dr. Krystal Drwencke.

Safeguarding You and Your Life’s Work

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By Jay Greene, Esquire/CPA  |  Greene Estate, Probate, and Elder Law Firm

This guest post from long-time member and GGBA board member Jay Greene of Greene Estate, Probate, and Elder Law Firm (www.assetprotectionbayarea.com) provides advice about the importance of creating an effective estate plan for you and your loved ones.

With over half of American adults not having an estate plan, it’s difficult to know what your options are and what decision is best.   Estate planning isn’t about how much money you have.  Estate Planning is about you, safeguarding your life’s work, and protecting those you love after you’re gone. Whether you become disabled or die, a proper plan will make sure that what you have gets to the people you love, the way you want, when you want without unnecessary cost or delay.

If you were to die or become disabled today, are you certain that everything will be taken care of the way you want? Estate planning is legally ensuring things will be handled the way you want by providing your set of instructions instead of relying on the plan that the government has created for you.

Estate planning really is for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you have $40,000 or $4 Million. Everyone needs to plan for their future. Whether it’s to name a guardian for your children, trustee if you become disabled, or ensure your loved ones don’t lose your assets when you die.

Proper estate planning is more than just feeling better about filling out a boilerplate form.  Estate planning is about actually achieving your goals.  This can only be accomplished by using an experienced estate planning attorney, who knows about probate, tax, business law, family law, veteran’s benefits, and Medi-Cal.  A plan can be simple or complex.  It’s really up to you.

Keeping your Estate Plan current

Once completed, your estate plan should be reviewed and kept current with life events such as birth, death, marriage or divorce of anyone included in your plan.  The one constant in life is change. You can count on it. Things change. No matter how hard we try to keep them the same, the inevitable will occur.  That includes relationships. Relationships change, usually over time… sometimes long periods of time and sometimes not so long. As relationships change, consider changing your plan for the future.

If you want to learn more about estate planning, join any one of our workshops! We regularly hold workshops in the Castro and San Francisco.  You can register here: www.assetprotectionbayarea.com.

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Jay’s free workshops will provide you with a step by step educational experience covering the fundamentals of estate planning and asset protection, whether you are a small business owner, parents with children, or considering long term care.

Our next workshop is the “7 Threats to Your Security” on Thursday, May 25, 2017, 6:30pm at GGBA member, Spark Arts Event Space, 4229 18th Street, San Francisco, CA  94114. Please register online at www.assetprotectionbayarea.com to reserve your seat or call 415-905-0215.

Jay Greene Law Firm has been recognized by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce as a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise TM (LGBTBE)

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The GGBA to Host the 2018 Western Business Alliance

The 2018 Western Business Alliance LGBT Economic Summit and Conference

San Francisco, California  |  March, 2018

 

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In the Spring of 1974 a small group of LGBT business owners, including Harvey Milk, owner of the venerable Castro Camera Shop, met in the heart of the Castro District of San Francisco to lay the groundwork for what would become the world’s first LGBT Chamber of Commerce and named it the Golden Gate Business Association. From that spark of innovation, courage, and determination a global movement for economic equality was launched.

The movement spread first across the Western United States with LGBT chambers of commerce emerging just a few short years later in Seattle and San Diego. Following them organizations arose in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Denver, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Portland, San Jose, Spokane, Palm Springs, Vancouver and Honolulu following. Our quest for economic vitality also headed East to include Atlanta, Milwaukee, Chicago, Dallas, Austin, Washington D.C., New York, Ft. Lauderdale, Philadelphia, and beyond.

Aside from the challenges of running our growing businesses there were devastating losses and horrendous challenges to overcome during the formative years of this business movement. Our leaders faced assassination and the scourge of AIDS. In some cases the AIDS epidemic threatened the very existence of our organizations. Yet, the entrepreneurial spirit and tenacity of the LGBT business movement in the West soldiered on by creating new and sustainable jobs and donating millions of dollars of support for thousands of community based organizations, all of which provided critical healthcare and non-profit community support services.

In the midst of this chaos we were building philanthropic foundations that forever changed and empowered our communities, cities, states, and nation. We formed collaborations with our brother and sister organizations from the minority, women, and disabled veteran business communities. We learned the value and power of passing legislation that would lead to economic vitality while fighting against the legislative initiatives that would shackle us to a status of second class citizens.

The Western Business Alliance (WBA) was founded in 1992 by forward-thinking business leaders and association executives who knew that it was critically important to collaborate in order to build networks, assess best-practices, and guide the growing movement.

The LGBT business movement, now in its fourth decade, has seen unprecedented growth. The movement that started in the Western states has propelled itself across the globe to include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru, Central & Eastern Europe, Sweden, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay

However, there is much work to be done.

There are far too many homeless LGBT youth who need more than just our support – they need the jobs we are creating. There are tens of thousands of LGBT seniors who need to engage with our movement to provide their unparalleled mentorship, skills, and institutional knowledge. There are LGBT millennials who need scholarships to attend quality educational institutions focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) so that after they graduate they can launch the next wave of startups that will address our local, regional, and global challenges.

The 2018 WBA LGBT Economic Summit and Conference will bring the movement home to San Francisco, where it started and where together we will find the inspiration, the innovation, and focus to move toward our fifth decade of growth and community service.

We invite you to join us in this celebration of ‘all things entrepreneurial’ and ‘all things possible!’ It will be a powerful, and unforgettable, experience.

Stay tuned for details!

New Member Spotlight – January 2017

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An important part of the GGBA’s mission is to foster community within San Francisco’s LGBT business community. Each month we will spotlight our most recent members.

As you can see, our LGBT businesses are very diverse! Our membership includes tech firms, financial services, coaches, design firms, and more.

Please click on the names of new individual and company members below. Start getting to know your community today!

GGBA’s Fabulous January Members

Look forward to getting to know our latest members in next month’s new member spotlight.
Not a member? Click HERE to join.

New Member Spotlight – December 2016

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An important part of the GGBA’s mission is to foster community within San Francisco’s LGBT business community. Each month we will spotlight our most recent members.

As you can see, our LGBT businesses are very diverse! Our membership includes tech firms, financial services, coaches, design firms, and more.

Please click on the names of new individual and company members below. Start getting to know your community today!

GGBA’s Fabulous New Members

Look forward to getting to know our latest members in next month’s new member spotlight.

Not a member? Click here to join.

 

Celebrating 2016! for the GGBA, It Was a Great Year

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2016 was an incredible year for the GGBA. We said goodbye to some very cherished and loved members and we said hello to growth, opportunity and significant breakthroughs in economic equality.

Here is a quick snapshot of some of our key successes as we welcome 2017:

GGBA received the honor of being named the San Francisco Advocacy Organization of the Year by the San Francisco Council of District Merchants Association.

Advocated for, and won, first-ever LGBT certified business in the history of the United States, GGBA Member Equator Coffees and Teas, to be named “Small Business of the Year” as designated by the United States Small Business Administration.

Advocated for, and provided technical assistance to, GGBA Member Laner Electric to receive the largest construction contract awarded through a competitive bidding process to an LGBT certified firm in the United States on a Public Works project (San Francisco Central Subway and Transbay Transit Center Projects) with an overall value in access for $14 Million.

Advocated for, and won, inclusion of LGBT Businesses in the NFL/Super Bowl 50’s Procurement Program marking the first time in the history of the United States for this level of participation to take place. Nearly 20 GGBA members received meaningful contracts in the competitive bidding process of this historic event.

Advocated, with our colleagues at the Castro Merchants, to secure a $50,000 pro-bono advertising campaign from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to promote shopping/dining in the Upper Market Area during Super Bowl 50.

Developed, in concert with the San Francisco Business Times, the first-ever “Top 50 LGBT Owned Businesses Roster” to be published in the world.

Advocated for, and won, the opportunity for LGBT-owned businesses to self-identify as such in the San Francisco Local Business Enterprise Certification process.

Worked in concert with our colleagues at the Silicon Valley Rainbow Chamber of Commerce and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority to have the VTA be the first public transportation agency in the United States to codify, through the full legislative process, the inclusion of LGBT-certified firms to their competitive bidding process.

Achieved the highest local, statewide, national media visibility in the GGBA’s 43 year history.

We’re thrilled to make 2017 even better, and we want you to join us as we continue to make history.

Join the GGBA. Click here to become a member of our nation’s first LGBT chamber of commerce.

Buy a Home in San Francisco: New Residential Lending Options for Self Employed Borrowers

By Jackie Cuneo

This guest post from long-time member and GGBA board member Jackie Cuneo of Summit Funding provides advice and insider tips on finding alternatives to standard home loans that can turn even small business owners into home owners.

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If you are self-employed and have tried to buy or refinance a home in the last few years, you know how difficult it can be to show the income needed to qualify for a home loan.

Your CPA asks you to keep meticulous records so you can take as many deductions as possible. When your company income does get stronger, you’re encouraged to make additional investments in your business to grow. Perhaps you have hired additional help, made capital equipment investments, or incurred other expenses that help propel your business forward, but which reduce your net taxable income, sometimes even producing an on-paper loss. While this may lighten your tax bill, the amount on your tax returns that’s available to qualify for residential financing is often far lower than is needed. So what can you do?

Most residential loans qualify self-employed borrowers using net business income after deductions.  If your business is incorporated, K1 distributions are used. If a borrower owns more than 25% of a corporation, corporate returns are also considered, and any company losses must be assigned to the borrower regardless of whether corporate debt is personally guaranteed by the borrower, or if there is significant cash value to the business from investors. If the company is running at a loss, the borrower’s salary may also be removed from qualifying income calculations.

However, there is hope in a new class of residential loans, known as “Non QM” which allow as low as 5% down, higher DTI ratios, and can use different methods to calculate income for self-employed borrowers:

Qualify with personal cash flow, as shown by 24+ months of bank deposits.

Qualify with rental income from the property, if the property is fully or partially rented

Qualify with personal assets, amortized over time to generate a “virtual income” formula.

To use one of these loans, we look for the following:

Operating as self-employed for 2+ years, and has filed taxes as self-employed for 2+ tax years, evidenced by a letter from the borrower’s tax preparer. Tax returns are NOT required.

Business existence must be verifiable by a 3rd party source, such as Business License, Corporate Entity public records, and any other necessary operating licenses for that business type.

6-18 months reserves for each property owned (varies per program)

In some cases, business assets may be even used for downpayment and/or reserves.

If you’ve been turned away for financing by a retail lender, even the bank where you have your business accounts, there still may be a way for you to purchase or refinance a 1-4 unit residential property.  Look for a residential lender who offers Non-QM loans or special loans for self-employed borrowers, in addition to a full suite of “regular” home loans. Purchasing a new property, or refinancing your home to pull cash out, lower rate, or change loan types, may be possible after all.

Jackie Cuneo is a Licensed Residential Mortgage Lender, former SF Realtor, and proud member of the GGBA. She can be reached at jcuneo@summitfunding.net or http://jackiecuneo.com

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