NGLCC Business Enterprise Certification is Good For Business; Interview with Dawn Ackerman

Published: Feb. 24, 2015

 Dawn at work





Photo of Dawn Ackerman by Paul Chinn, San Francisco Chronicle

Becoming part of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s (NGLCC) Supplier Diversity Initiative is about more than supporting the national movement for LGBT equality. It’s about helping small businesses become recognized and make money, thereby bolstering the economic base of the entire LGBT community. The GGBA sat down with Dawn Ackerman to find out why it’s important for GGBA’s small business members to get certified to become part of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Supplier Diversity Initiative in advance of the free LGBT Business Builder event taking place on March 2, 2015.

Dawn is vice president of the GGBA Board of Directors and President, CFO, and co-founder of OutSmart Office Solutions, a full-service office interior design and space planning company. In 2012, OutSmart Office Solutions was recognized as the NGLCC’s 2012 LGBT Supplier of the Year.

GGBA: You’re very involved with the NGLCC. Will you tell us why you’re so involved?

Dawn: When I was living in Los Angeles in 2004, I heard from a fellow business owner that there was a new, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and they were having their conference in San Francisco to talk about LGBT Business Enterprise certification. I decided to buy a ticket and come to San Francisco to check out this conference. While I was at that conference, I learned about certification, and I learned that there were LGBT Chambers all over the country. I joined the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber and started understanding how important certification could be for LGBT businesses—if they knew about it. We’ve been promoting it now for almost 10 years.

I also met my business partner at that San Francisco conference. Over the next few years we decided we would form a new company, get certified, and work together. We formed Outsmart Office Solutions in 2007. In 2009, we went to the NGLCC conference and that’s where we met Office Depot. In 2010 we became their first LGBT partner and in 2013 we became their first and only LGBT vendor with our own line of product.

[Read more…]

New California Law Aims To Help Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender-Owned Businesses

Published: Friday, Jan. 2, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A first-of-its-kind law in California is aimed at helping certified businesses owned by those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

The law requires big public utilities in the state to report how much work they do with LGBT business owners. Utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric already have to report how many businesses they contract with who are owned by ethnic minorities, women and disabled veterans. Now, LGBT-certified businesses are on that list as well.

“Having the certification is a great way to get your foot in the door so that you can look at some of those opportunities and bid to win some of those contracts,” said Sam McClure, Vice President of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, which issues the certifications. “Every business owner should have a seat at the economic table. That includes women-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses, disabled veterans and LGBT.”

Big companies, the federal government, and organizations such as the National Football League have already begun making explicit efforts to contract with these certified companies.

McClure said the hope is that the new law will give some of these smaller businesses a chance.

“The biggest opportunities are going to be in construction or very specific things that are specific to utilities like laying cable,” he said. “I think we’re going to see prime contractors that are currently doing business with the companies that are in the California Public Utilities Commission reaching out to try to find tier 2 and 3 suppliers who are diverse as well.”

The law doesn’t mandate any contracting, but it does give the public a chance to see who is being chosen.

It covers every electrical, gas, water, wireless telecommunications service provider and telephone corporations with annual revenues exceeding $25 million. The law defines an LGBT business enterprise as one that is at least 51 percent owned by a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person or persons.

LGBT-owned businesses get diversity boost

By Lisa Leff, Associated Press

Published: Friday, Jan. 2, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO — As a Mexican-American woman who started her own consulting firm in Los Angeles, accountant Sonia Luna has taken advantage of programs aimed at helping minority- and women-owned businesses compete for government and corporate contracts. But increasingly, the fact that Luna also is a lesbian entrepreneur hasn’t hurt either.

Federal agencies, organizations such as the National Football League and more than one-third of Fortune 500 companies are now trying to expand their vendor pools by explicitly encouraging bids from gay, lesbian and transgender contractors.

The little-known outreach efforts mirror long-standing “supplier diversity” initiatives aimed at creating economic opportunities for businesses owned by racial minorities, women and disabled veterans.

“It allows me to be even prouder of who I am,” said Luna, who hopes her firm, Aviva Spectrum, will benefit from a new California law requiring large utility companies to report how much they spend with LGBT contractors. “And it allows the marketplace to acknowledge a class that has been denied recognition as a minority group.”

The trend has not been without controversy.

[Read more…]

NFL Inroad – Gay Businesses Offered Opportunities for 2016 Super Bowl

By  , Washington Blade

Published: Thursday,  Dec, 4, 2014

Over the past few years, several professional, college and Olympic athletes have come out of the closet. And the sports communities from which they come have launched diversity training programs and guidelines to educate their athletes, coaches and staff.

It is safe to say that the sports world is paying attention to the LGBT community.

Earlier this summer, it was announced that the United States Tennis Association had become a corporate partner with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and would be opening their supply chain to LGBT-certified businesses.

And now, the National Football League has announced that the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee will include Bay Area LGBT-certified businesses in its Business Connect program for contracting opportunities related to the Super Bowl championship game to be held at Levi’s Stadium on Feb. 7, 2016.

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The Outfield on SiriusXM: SF Bay Area leaders on the kinds of LGBT businesses needed for Super Bowl 50

By Eddie Robinson, The Outfield, SirusXM Entertainment

Published: Monday, Nov. 17, 2014

Listen to GGBA Public Policy Chair Paul Pendergast and San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee CEO Tony Bruce discuss the Committees inclusion of LGBT-owned businesses in the biggest sporting event in the country.

Clip: SF Bay city leaders describe new NFL partnership w/LGBT businesses

Clip: The Outfield: SF city leaders talk about value of Super Bowl 2016 contracts for LGBT stores

Clip: The Outfield: SF Bay Area leaders on the kinds of LGBT businesses needed for Super Bowl 50

The Outfield, an LGBT radio show, is a live call-in show hosted by sports broadcaster Eddie Robinson and features interviews with LGBT athletes and LGBT allies as they discuss sports, fitness, and the advancement of openly gay athletes competing in sports at all levels.

Super Bowl 50 Is Working Hard to Be LGBT-Friendly

By Pete Kane, SF Weekly

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014

Apart from certain religious hierarchies, professional sports remains perhaps the biggest pocket of institutional homophobia left in American society.

But that, too, might be changing.

The Chronicle reported last week that in preparation for Super Bowl 50 (which will be played in 2016 at Levi’s Stadium), the National Football League is adding LGBT-owned small businesses to its outreach efforts. Business Connect, which is intended to “increase opportunities for minority, women, disabled veteran” and LGBT-owned businesses, is a joint project between the NFL and the Bay Area’s host committee. Apart from being the right thing to do, it’s also a shrewd business move in such an LGBT-heavy region.

[Read more…]

For Super Bowl 50, NFL courts LGBT businesses

By John Coté, San Francisco Chronicle

Published: Sunday, November 9, 2014

It’s not quite painting a rainbow on the logo for Super Bowl 50, but it’s a step in that direction.

The National Football League is showing a more inclusive side with its landmark 50th anniversary Super Bowl, which will be played at the 49er’s new Levi’s Stadium. The league and event organizers are set to announce Monday that, for the first time, the NFL will expand its outreach on contracting opportunities for the 2016 event to businesses owned by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“I think it’s incredible history that’s being made right here in San Francisco, and what better place for it to happen?” said Robb Fleischer, president of the Golden Gate Business Association, the nation’s first LGBT chamber of commerce. “I think it sends a message nationwide.”

Super Bowl 50 will be played at the stadium in Santa Clara, but about 10 days of lead-up activities, including parties and the Super Bowl Village, will be in San Francisco, with its rich history of gay-rights activism.

The NFL’s move comes as a stream of court rulings have come down in favor of same-sex marriage and a week after Apple CEO Tim Cook, revealed he was gay.

The NFL already targets small businesses owned by minorities, women and disabled veterans in its effort to line up local vendors through its Business Connect program for the lead-up and production of the Super Bowl. Bay Area LGBT business owners were thrilled about being added to the list.

[Read more…]

LGBT, Veterans Open To Bid On Super Bowl Contracts

By Carolyn Tyler, ABC 7 News

Published: Monday, November 10, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – Super Bowl 50 is coming to Levi’s Stadium in 2016.


On Monday, the NFL and the Super Bowl Committee made a historic announcement about who will be eligible to bid on contracts.

“I think it’s about time. I’m so excited,” said Audry deLucia, who with her wife Fran, owns Ellaprint, a company that offers a wide range of marketing and promotional materials. They’re hoping to make history as part of Super Bowl 50.

“It’s something that’s a no brainer for San Francisco and the entire Bay Area to include the LGBT when it comes to opportunities to benefit from Super Bowl 50 coming to our region,” said Daniel Luriel with the Super Bowl Host Committee.

The game will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara but the Host Committee is planning several days of events throughout the Bay Area. They’ll need party planners, production companies and everything in between.

At past Super Bowls, the NFL reached out to minority and women-owned businesses as part of their program called Business Connect.

Now for the first time ever, LGBT businesses are being invited to bid.

Paul Pendergast is head of the nation’s first LGBT Chamber of Commerce. He says if a company is qualified and the lowest bidder, that business would be a contender.

“You start changing the dialogue, you start bringing in all sorts of prospectives you never had before,” said deLucia.

It’s also a breakthrough for disabled veterans like H.T. Tran. The NFL-Super Bowl program is expanding to include them as well. Tran, who owns a building engineering firm was severely injured when an IED exploded during his tour in Iraq. He says Business Connect is about opening the doors so vets can compete.

“I think the main word is ‘compete’ because that’s what veterans do. They don’t want a free handout. They want to work for what they earn,” said Tran.

It’s not clear how lucrative those contracts will be, but there could be more diversity in who gets a piece of that pie.

To learn more about possible opportunities or how to attend a Kickoff Workshop, click here.

SF Bay Times: Building a More Successful LGBT Business Community

Jason Holstein

Published: September 19, 2013

By Jason Holstein

As Golden Gate Business Association’s recently hired Managing Director, I am humbled to stand on the shoulders of giants. GGBA has played an important role in shaping the conversation around LGBT equality as the nation’s first LGBT business organization and one of the first LGBT organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Many have asked me, “Why relocate from Orlando, Florida, to the Bay Area, when the right to marry has been secured for same-sex couples? What else is there to fight for?”

Read more…

GGBA Welcomes – San Francisco Federal Credit Union

The GGBA is proud to announce our newest partner: San Francisco Federal Credit Union. Welcome aboard!

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