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Lived experiences of 2SLGBTQ+ Entrepreneurs explored in report

August 31, 2022

CGLCC and the Diversity Institute explore Access and Equity for 2SLGBTQ+ Businesses in Canada in recent report

Providing an account of the lived experiences of 2SLGBTQ+ entrepreneurs in Canada, Ted Rogers School of Management’s Diversity Institute report, Access and Equity for 2SLGBTQ+ Businesses in Canada, in partnership with Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) dives deeper into the benefits and barriers for 2SLGBTQ+ business leadership. 

Through analysis and interviews with 2SLGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, the report highlights common themes found in the experiences of entrepreneurs facing structural barriers in their activities; including how they work within the context of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, lack of access to funding and discrimination. Participants came from both rural and urban communities across Canada and own businesses at various stages of development, from small startups to established businesses and spanned industries ranging from professional services to manufacturing and construction.

Motivations driving entrepreneurial behaviour included identity as core to their business, the undervalued contributions of 2SLGBTQ+-owned small and medium-sized enterprises, and advocacy opportunities. Participants reported that owning businesses gave them with a voice to engage with other large communities, not only to educate them on the needs of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, but also to demonstrate the buying power of the community.

“It’s everything, it’s who we are, it’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.” Said one respondent. “It’s economic empowerment, to give social empowerment, political empowerment, it’s what drives me to open my mailbox each morning. I do it to make money, make no mistake about it, but the real driving force behind [owning a business] is, I do this with advocacy. I want to shout to the outside community that we have value.” (P9)

It is clear that through this report, 2SLGBTQ+ businesses are advocating to make change within their communities, but they need more support to accomplish their goals. Through further education, awareness, and mentorship we can build a better business ecosystem for diverse entrepreneurs.

There has been a lack of research on LGBT+ businesses and leaders, the unique challenges they face and how discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity in business is impacting their potential. CGLCC has been at the forefront of conducting research into the LGBT+ business community in Canada but, as a not-for-profit, we are not able to do this alone. Thank you to our sponsors, TD and Microsoft, for ensuring that the CGLCC is able to conduct this important research and that we can continue to better understand and support our community.

About Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce
Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) links LGBT+ businesses in Canada to the wider business and corporate community. It fosters economic growth by supporting and nurturing LGBT+ businesses, entrepreneurs, students and allies, and by helping Canada’s corporate world connect with the LGBT+ business community.

Ted Rogers School of Management’s Diversity Institute:
The Ted Rogers School of Management’s Diversity Institute conducts and coordinates multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder research to address the needs of diverse Canadians, the changing nature of skills and competencies, and the policies, processes and tools that advance economic inclusion and success. Our action-oriented, evidence-based approach is advancing knowledge of the complex barriers faced by equity deserving groups, leading practices to effect change, and producing concrete results.

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