In January 2017 the United States Small Business Administration (timed with the inauguration of President Donald Trump) took down business resource information for LGBT-owned businesses from its website. While this could have been 'explained away' as standard operating procedure during a time of transition we are now 17 months past that point and information supporting Minority, Women and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises has all been replaced. It is only information relating to LGBT businesses which has remained 'erased.'
On May 9, 2018 Congresswomen Nydia Velazquez and Yvette Clarke, who both sit on the House Committee on Small Business, sent a letter to SBA Administrator Linda McMahon requesting specific answers to a series of important questions about the removal of the business resource information as well as an inquiry regarding the SBA's intent to engage with the LGBT business community as it has done in the past.
As you may remember, GGBA Member Equator Coffees & Teas was selected by the SBA as the National Small Business of the Year in 2016. That was a historic achievement because it was the first time in the history of the US that a certified LGBT business received that distinctive honor. Helen Russell, Co-Founder and CEO of Equator shared this quote regarding the SBA's attempt to make the LGBT business community 'invisible:'
“It is disheartening that the SBA has not taken action to restore the LGBT outreach page. The SBA’s mission is to "maintain and strengthen the nation's economy” and LGBT business owners contribute over $1.7 Trillion to the U.S. Economy. We are innovators, job creators, taxpayers, and providers of essential services that benefit our entire society.
Erasing the page will not erase these contributions.
We accessed SBA loans at two pivotal growth stages. One of our proudest moments was to represent the LGBT business community as the recipients of the SBA’s 2016 National Small Business of the Year.
To stand alongside Secretary Maria Contreras Sweet, a cabinet member of the Obama Administration, and be honored made us proud to be Americans - living the American Dream."
We encourage GGBA members to attend Tuesday's MEGA Make Contact to receive further information on this important matter.
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