National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce inks Federal Agreement

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) signed a historic memorandum of understanding (MOU), designed to increase opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) owned businesses. While the NGLCC has established an initiative for LGBT suppliers to contract with some of America's top corporations, the Department of the Interior is the first federal agency to sign such an MOU expressly aimed at increasing opportunities for LGBT businesses within the Federal government.

The partnership will allow the NGLCC to provide more opportunities to certified LGBT-owned businesses looking to secure vendor contracts with the Department and its eight bureaus: National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Minerals Management Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and the Office of Surface Mining.

"Through this partnership, the NGLCC will ensure that LGBT businesses have access to bid on the more than $4 billion dollars in contracts the DOI awards every year, over $2 billion of which is spent with small and disadvantaged businesses," said NGLCC co-founder Justin Nelson.

"Know your neighbor," said Bob Faithful, Director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization at the Department. "LGBT businesses are also our neighbors; they are taxpayers and contributors to the economy, as well as our customers. Their participation as small businesses makes the country's economic base stronger," added Faithful on his reasons for bringing the DOI to the table as
the first federal agency to sign such an agreement with the NGLCC. 

Today's events also benefit the Department of the Interior. As a result of the agreement, the NGLCC will help the Department enhance their outreach efforts to small businesses owned and operated by members of the LGBT community. In doing so, the NGLCC will assist in promoting cooperation and collaborative action on issues involving contract and procurement opportunities with the Department.

"We look forward to working with the DOI, while increasing opportunities for the LGBT community and adding quality suppliers to the Department's network," commented NGLCC co-founder Chance Mitchell on the partnership. "We know the document we signed today is the first of many with Federal Agencies. LGBT business women and men need to know there is a difference between the politics in Washington and business opportunities with the Federal Government. This is a good start," concluded Mitchell.

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