Resources for LGBT Startup Founders

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Resources for LGBT Startup Founders

Founding a startup is always exciting, but founding a startup based on your experiences as an LGBTQ person, for LGBTQ audiences, can be a chance to change the world. You may have spent part of your life feeling that being LGBTQ was an isolating experience. But the LGBTQ community is vibrant and full of 1.4 million businesses in the United States alone. If you look, you can easily find people and resources willing to help — including help for startup founders.

Today, let’s dive into some of the top resources for LGBTQ founders launching their passion startup.


Networking is essential for new startup founders. It’s the first way that you’ll put the word out about your business, by making connections with other entrepreneurs, as well as potential customers. At networking events, you can build relationships that will eventually turn into business partnerships. You’ll find a community built to help each other thrive. That’s exactly what you’ll find with StartOut.

StartOut is dedicated to ensuring that LGBTQ entrepreneurs have the same access to resources and connections that any other entrepreneur has. It’s a massive community of LGBTQ entrepreneurs, as well as potential customers. Through StartOut, you can find mentorship programs, networking events, and a community dedicated to the success of LGBTQ entrepreneurs.

The LGBTQ+ Entrepreneur Toolkit

This toolkit comes directly from Berkeley University. It offers 100+ free resources all aimed at LGBTQ entrepreneurs. These tips can help you start digital marketing, make a business plan, and have a successful launch. The tips are divided into different categories, including:

  • Tips and Toolkits
  • Directories
  • Marketing Tips
  • Associations
  • Funding Resources
  • Crowdfunding Resources
  • Allyship Resources

What more could you need? This toolkit is designed to give you the skills and resources you need to successfully launch your startup.

Backstage Capital

Every startup needs funding, and venture capital is a popular way to get it. Venture capital firms invest in businesses that may involve some amount of risk but have high growth potential. Backstage Capital is a venture capital firm that specifically funds startups with marginalized or underrepresented founders, including LGBTQ founders. They have a core belief that investing in underrepresented businesses is not only good business sense, but will help to change the world.

Out in Tech

Out in Tech is another networking community, specifically aimed at the LGBTQ tech world. This is the largest LGBTQ tech network in the world, with over 40,000 members, including many tech startup founders. Through Out in Tech, you can make business connections and partnerships, as well as having access to resources in the tech world that you wouldn’t otherwise.

Even if your startup is not in the tech industry, if you need help with tech and want to work with an LGBTQ company, Out in Tech can be an excellent resource.

The SBA, LGBT-Owned Businesses Community

Most startup founders know about the Small Business Association (SBA). You may have reached out for a loan from the SBA in the past. But did you know that they also have communities? This includes a community for LGBT-owned businesses full of tips and resources to help you grow your business. You can find free business counseling, apply for loans, or how to certify your LGBTQ business (through the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce).

LGBT Entrepreneur Grants

You may also be able to find grants to help you fund your LGBTQ startup. There are several grants available for LGBTQ entrepreneurs, from major corporations like Coca Cola or Exxon Mobile or smaller activism organizations. There are especially grants for startups that are committed to social or environmental justice. If you’re still looking for funding, this list from EveryQueer is an excellent place to start.

Out Leadership

Out Leadership was founded to establish more LGBTQ equality in the workplace. However, they understand that this often starts at a leadership level. A big part of what they do is offer a business network and programs for current and upcoming LBGTQ leaders in business. Some of their programs include OutNEXT, in which LGBTQ entrepreneurs can hone their business skills; or OutWOMEN, a networking program for LGBTQ women in business.

Out Professionals

Although it may be dismissed as “trendy” now, LGBTQ people have a rich history in the business world. Out Professionals has been in business for 40 years, and they’re not going anywhere any time soon. In addition to networking events, they host a massive business directory and a B2B networking community. You can even post your own events, whether at a physical location or through a webinar.

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