Featured image: Bruno Rose of Pack Leaders ATL is an LGBTQ+ business owner and recipient of the Hello Alice COVID-19 Business for All Emergency Grant.
COVID-19 has scrambled all assumptions about small business in 2020. It's time to reassess what exactly small businesses need, and how can we best serve that need. That's one of the key drivers of a new Hello Alice report titled "The Impact of COVID-19 on LGBTQ+ Businesses."
This report, created in partnership with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), is part of a series built on a growing dataset gathered from more than 79,000 applications to our COVID-19 Business for All Emergency Grant program. To date, 5,201 of those are from LGBTQ+ business owners primarily spread across the Healthcare/Wellness, Arts/Entertainment/Recreation, and Food/Beverage sectors (with a handful of others represented). Roughly 60% of this applicant demographic identifies as women, 34% as men, 4% as non-binary, 2% as non-conforming, and .9% preferring not to say.
What did these business owners have to say? Key takeaways include:
- 55% of LGBTQ+ applicants have pivoted their business
- 59% said they need emergency grants immediately, with 34% reporting that $10-25k grants would mean business survival after COVID-19
- 76% of LGBTQ+ applicants said they were most impacted by reduced sales due to social distancing
The report also includes qualitative data, showcasing the individual stories of grant recipients. In their own words, LGBTQ+ business owners have told us that access to capital is among their most pressing needs right now.
Action Plan: How We're Using this Report
This kind of data is a key part of Hello Alice's support for the New Majority of small business owners. And that's why, with the generous support of our partners, we will allocate a portion of emergency grant funding specifically for LGBTQ+ business owners. Hello Alice will also launch an LGBTQ+ Business Resource Center in the coming weeks to compile resources and how-to guides to support this community's unique business needs.
Finally, Hello Alice recommends the following actions based on our data:
- Emphasize digital tools. Social distancing and safety concerns will linger for months. Especially in industries focused on in-person services, businesses must perfect digital sales and marketing channels.
- More loans and grants. As with other demographics, LGBTQ+ business owners overwhelmingly requested access to funding in amounts between $10,000–$50,000.
- Targeted outreach. It’s not enough to express support; industry-specific groups must seek out and integrate LGBTQ+ owners in their networks and leadership teams.
- Engage with the NGLCC. A leading voice in the LGBTQ+ business community, NGLCC exists to influence public policy, develop new clients, and facilitate supplier diversity goals.
If your company or organization is interested in supporting this important work or gaining insights into your community of business owners, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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