Person working at a desk with a pride flag in the background.
A variety of organizations offer business funding while emphasizing their commitments to equality, diversity, and LGBTQ rights. — Getty Images/Akarawut Lohacharoenvanich

Securing funding for LGBTQ-owned businesses is essential. However, these businesses often face discrimination, prejudice, and a lack of access to traditional funding sources.

Despite these roadblocks, there are many options available for LGBTQ entrepreneurs to accelerate their businesses, including grants, loans, crowdfunding, and venture capital investments that specifically focus on equality and inclusion.

The following organizations emphasize LGBTQ rights and protection with a central goal of supporting and funding LGBTQ businesses.

[Read more: A Practical Guide to Funding Your Small Business with Business Loans and Beyond]

Backstage Capital

Committed to supporting underrepresented communities, Backstage Capital funds companies led by underrepresented founders. The organization has invested in 200 companies they deem scalable, even as early as the pre-seed stage, and one that can return a 10x investment. Their services include mentorship, fundraising support, and a network of like-minded companies.

Diversity VC

Diversity VC seeks to create an industry free of bias through its practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion practices. This venture capital fund has a standard program set in place to ensure its clients get its full support, including a consultation, certification, and network of like-minded teams with the goal of improving the global ecosystem. Diversity VC helps LGBTQ-owned businesses access the proper funding needed to thrive.

LGBT Capital

Impact investing to support the growth and advancements of LGBT businesses is one of the central focuses of LGBT Capital. The company “pioneered the development” of an LGBT Diversity Investment Index Fund. Additionally, it acts as a “credible investment sector,” which highlights the importance of global LGBT equality and inclusion.

[Read more: 6 Popular Financing Options for Your Startup]

The David Bohnett Foundation

The David Bohnett Foundation frequently awards grants to those aiming to serve the LGBTQ community. In fact, it has already distributed seven grants this year to organizations focused on LGBTQ rights and protection. The California-based group is built on improving society through social activism. Active funding opportunities are available on the foundation’s grants page.

Diversity VC seeks to create an industry free of bias through its practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.

American Association of University Women Career Development Grant

Since 1881, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) has been a major player in funding women’s graduate education while investing in women who want to change society. There are frequent opportunities available on its website, which also features career development grants up to $20,000. The AAUW has been, and remains, at the forefront of the fight for gender equity.

Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice

Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice is rooted in LGBTQI communities and has been for many years. The organization funds grassroots initiatives that are working for racial, economic, and gender justice. There are four main grants readily available: the U.S. Fund, the International Fund, the Intersex Fund, and the Global Arts Fund. The public foundation strives to spread its support where it can with its grants ranging from $5,000 to $30,000 per year and develops long-term partnerships with its clients.

The Coca-Cola Foundation

The Coca-Cola Foundation has awarded grants to more than 350 projects aimed at supporting communities across the world. Among the plans they back are those focused on women’s empowerment, youth development, human rights and advocacy, and arts and culture. If your LGBTQ-owned business supports your community through philanthropic work, you might be eligible for funding.

Open Meadows Foundation

This grant-making organization funds 501(c)(3) organizations and individuals who promote justice across gender, racial, and economic statuses. Open Meadows Foundation will update its website when applications are open. Among their biggest grants is the Nancy Dean Lesbian Playwriting Award, which is handed out to women who spearheaded a community movement on raising awareness and advancing society in the fight for equality.

[Read more: 4 Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Small Business Loan]

Small Business Administration (SBA) LGBT Outreach

The SBA provides a network designed to bring awareness and focus on economic empowerment in the LGBTQ+ business community through access to its many financial resources, connections, grant programs, and services. The SBA’s website has a local assistance tool to provide support in determining whether their 8(a) Business Development Program is a right fit. The SBA also offers a certification for LGBTQ-owned small businesses, which can help obtain more financial support.

StartOut

A leader in nonprofit support for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, StartOut is determined to drive economic empowerment and provides equal access to any and all in the community. The organization has raised over $1.27 billion in funding and supported over 1,270 companies. Its partners have access to resources, expert support, and opportunities to accelerate their business growth.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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