PRIDE is a month of visibility, celebration, and protest. There is more work to be done in supporting the LGBTQIA2P+ (LGBTQ) community, and equity in entrepreneurship is a key step in that journey.
Systemic barriers keep the LGBTQ community from accessing real economic opportunity and this inequity has been decades in the making. A study by StartOut estimates if everyone had equal access to funding and resources, there would be 10-times more LGBTQ entrepreneurs in the U.S.
Early-stage businesses need folks who TAKE ACTION.
They need contacts who will open their networks, say their name in a room, and advocate for their success in the community. In order for more people and more ideas to thrive in Austin (and nationally), we need to expand capacity for sponsorship and our community’s ability to show up for emerging startups – discrete tasks and specific connections, both big and small.
How you can sponsor:
1. If your company offers mentorship or pro-bono volunteering to underinvested entrepreneurs, advocate that they also provide grants and become customers of those entrepreneurs.
2. Find and advocate for startups that are not in your immediate networks. Follow entrepreneurial support organizations like 3 Day Startup who actively and intentionally support underrepresented and underestimated groups of founders.
3. Pay attention to where you spend your money; become a paying customer yourself for these businesses! (Reverie for your books, Red Cactus for creative marketing, Gusto graphic tees for funky vintage tshirts and gifts.)
4. If you have the privilege of working in the investment space – invest in these founders at all stages and bring diverse voices into your investment committee decision making.
It’s worth noting – and celebrating – the dramatic progress that the LGBTQ community has made over the years through protest and allyship. Still, there is more to be done to transform the way in which we enable LGBTQ (and other underestimated) entrepreneurs’ success.
Our team at 3 Day Startup is channeling major PRIDE energy this month to move the needle on inclusive growth.
All together now.