Entrepreneurial resources for women, minorities, and the LGBT community

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Diversity in the business and tech world has certainly improved over the last decade. However, the gaps between white males, women, people of color, and individuals from the LGBT community remain at large. According to the International Labor Organization, women’s participation in the U.S. labor force was growing during the 1970s and 1980s, with 60 percent holding jobs in 2000. However, in 2010 this number took a plummet to 46.7 percent—and it’s unfortunately not expected to jump back up by 2018. Additionally, only a third of the labor force is made up of people of color, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This gap in the workforce extends to people of the LGBT community as well. According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, 15 percent to 43 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender employees have experienced being fired, denied promotions, or harassed in some way.

Below are just some of the available resources both federally and locally for women, people of color, and the LGBT community:

Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

The GPGLCC is accessible to the community to be an inclusive business environment that aims to promote growth, visibility, and professional development opportunities. They are the oldest LGBT Chamber of Commerce in the nation and take great pride in the work they do for the LGBT community here in Phoenix. On their website is a directory of LGBT inclusive businesses and a job posting page. Many events are hosted each month, including a networking luncheon to help expand business connections. The GPGLCC is a genuinely valuable resource.

The Women’s Business Center

The Arizona Women’s Education and Entrepreneur Center is the only women’s business center in Maricopa County and proudly helps grow and develop women-owned and operated small businesses. The AWEEc provides women in the greater Phoenix area with training, online programs, counseling, and support networks to help grow and sustain their businesses that will contribute to making their businesses make an impact on the community.

National Association of Women Business Owners

Since 1975, NAWBO has been the voice for over 10.1 million women business owners across the country. They have remained an excellent resource for females who need aid in reaching greater political, social, and economic power in the entrepreneur world. In addition to helping women across the country, they have remained incredibly inclusive with the individuals they support. They seek to propel women into the business world regardless of race, religion, age, sexual orientation, origin or disability.

Minority Business Development Agency

MBDA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that encourages the growth of minority owned business and job creation through private sector programs. They work across the nation to set up minority-owned businesses with the right markets, capital, and additional resources they need to thrive. The demographic they serve is made up of African Americans, Asian Americans, Hasidic Jews, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders.

Girls in Tech: Phoenix

Girls in Tech is a global non-profit that is focused on the education and empowerment of girls and women who are passionate about technology and eager to make strides in the tech world. They help professional and non-professional girls and women who are looking to learn and expand their horizons and grow in the community. Each program and chapter are unique to the needs of the location it serves.

The Black Chamber of Arizona

The BCOA aims to improve the economic development of business entrepreneurs in the community. They help black-owned businesses and assist with leadership and advocacy about economic, political and social issues. Additionally, they educate their members on productive and efficient business practices to help them succeed.

Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

The AZHCC was founded back in 1948 and has been improving each year to support economic, educational, and business development in the Hispanic community. The goal for the AZHCC is to keep their members competitive by providing them with networking opportunities, leadership development, seminars, and marketing consultations. According to their website, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses has increased to nearly 50,000 statewide in the last ten years. This organization strives to grow that number and continue creating a culturally diverse workforce.

Everyone has something of value to contribute to the business world, and all of these resources will assist in creating a more diverse marketplace here in Arizona.

Katherine Sorensen

Author: Katherine Sorensen

Katherine is a writer who holds a BA in English Literature from Arizona State University and works for Coplex, a local startup studio. In her spare time, Katherine can be found writing poetry, reading graphic novels, and watching Friends on Netflix for the 8th time in a row.

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