Supporting Pride: How Your Business Can Celebrate and Champion LGBTQ+ Inclusion

Google sign, logo decorated in the rainbow colors in honor of LGBT Pride Month on the office building facade – New York, USA – June, 2021

Building an economy that works for everyone remains a top priority for the Thurston Economic Development Council (EDC). We look forward to lifting up the LGBTQ+ business community this Pride Month and beyond. Here are some actionable ways your business can participate in Pride Month and support LGBTQ+ businesses and employees.

SBA Resources for LGBTQ+ Small Businesses

From Main Street to metropolitan America, LGBTQ+-owned businesses make a difference by enriching and diversifying their communities. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recognizes this everyday impact and remains steadfast in its commitment to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs as they pursue their dreams of business ownership. The following SBA resources can be leveraged to help individuals start and grow their businesses:

  • LGBTQ-Owned Small Business Certification: The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) can help you get certified as an LGBTQ-owned small business. Certified businesses are in high demand by NGLCC Corporate Partners seeking to increase their spending with the LGBTQ+ community. They also benefit from scholarship programs, mentorship, training, and other business development resources after one year.
  • SBA Resource Partners: No- or low-cost counseling, training, technical assistance, and more can be found through the SBA’s 1,600-plus-strong network of resource partners. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to connect with Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and SCORE for expert advising and mentorship. There are also Veterans Business Outreach Centers and Women’s Business Centers, which specialize in services for vetrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs, respectively.
  • SBA-Guaranteed Loans: SBA funding programs work to expand access to capital for groups that may have a history of being financially underserved. SBA-guaranteed loans reduce lender risk and make it possible for owners to obtain funding with competitive terms, lower down payments, and flexible overhead requirements.
  • 8(a) Business Development Program: Eligible entrepreneurs who are socially disadvantaged may receive business training and government contracting assistance through the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program. Participating businesses benefit from coaching and technical assistance to help them compete more effectively in the American economy.

In Thurston County, there are many opportunities to attend a Pride event or sponsor an event or organization:

  • Capitol Pride Flag Raising: Thursday, June 13 at 12:00 pm, Flag Circle in front of the Capitol Building, 416 Sid Snyder Ave SW, Olympia.

Capital City Pride’s 2024 Day Schedule:

  • June 22 – Pub Crawl
  • June 28 – Friday – Drag Block Party
  • June 29 – Saturday – Pride’s Art & Music Festival
  • June 29 – Saturday – After Party @ Capitol Theater
  • June 30 – Sunday – Parade & Dyke Day in the Park
  • 2024 Thurston County Pride Fest: Saturday, June 8, 10 am—5 pm at the Thurston County Fairgrounds in Lacey. Live DJ, vendors, food, free crafts for kids to do, raffles, and lots more!

To further support the LGBTQ+ community, share and connect with these local resources:

Other ideas:

1. Display Visible Support

  • Decorate Your Workspace: Use rainbow flags, banners, and other Pride-themed decorations to show your support.
  • Update Your Logo: To show solidarity, temporarily update your business logo on social media and your website with rainbow colors.

2. Support LGBTQ+ Businesses

  • Partner with LGBTQ+ Vendors: Source products and services from LGBTQ+-owned businesses.
  • Feature LGBTQ+ Products: Highlight and promote products from LGBTQ+-owned brands in your store or online shop.

3. Create an Inclusive Workplace

  • Diversity Training: Offer training sessions for employees on LGBTQ+ inclusivity and sensitivity.
  • Supportive Policies: Ensure your workplace policies include anti-discrimination policies and benefits for same-sex partners.

4. Host or Sponsor Events

  • Pride Events: Host or sponsor Pride events, such as parades, festivals, or community gatherings.
  • Employee Events: Organize internal events, like a Pride Month kickoff party or educational workshops, to engage your employees.