Mayor Catherine Pugh issued an executive order this month to include LGBTQ–owned businesses in the city government’s supplier diversity programs.
Under the order, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-owned business enterprises will be recognized along with women and minority-owned businesses as the city looks to provide opportunity to underrepresented groups on contracts and services.
“Baltimore is an inclusive city and is made more vibrant by the diversity of our residents. By including the LGBTQ community in our supplier diversity programs, the City and the broader community are the real beneficiaries of their tremendous skills, talents, innovations and expertise,” Pugh said in a statement. “This is what a 21st Century city should be about – encouraging the best ideas, approaches and capabilities and allowing them to succeed for the benefit of us all.”
Businesses can be certified through the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. The organization “may also provide independent scholarship programs, mentorship and leadership training, networking opportunities, and other business development tools to further support LGBTQBEs in Baltimore with the support of the Maryland LGBT Chamber of Commerce,” the order states.
According to the document, Baltimore is also seeking to create a database or registry of LGBTQ–owned businesses “so that Baltimore may take part in the $1.7 trillion dollars added to the national economy as well as tens of thousands of jobs created by LGBTQ-owned businesses.”
With the move, Baltimore becomes the largest city in the country to include LGBTQ-owned businesses, the city states. Last month, NGLCC said Jersey City and Hoboken, N.J., issued orders, as well, according to NGLCC.