LGBTQ Business Owners with Pride Flags
Published June 5, 2024

12 Resources for LGBTQIA+ Entrepreneurs and Franchisees

Funding, community, and mentorship options for LGBTQ+ business owners

More than one-third of LGBTQIA+ adults experience discrimination. For those looking for a more inclusive culture, franchising can be the perfect opportunity for the entrepreneurial-minded to create a workplace environment that welcomes all while also building wealth. However, it’s important to recognize that there are barriers that hold back LGBTQIA+ people from pursuing business ownership:

  • Many in the LGBTQIA+ community face discrimination from investors and limited access to funding from traditional networks and connections in their local communities.
  • It can be difficult to find mentors and support from existing LGBTQIA+ business owners to help them work through challenges and experiences unique to them.
  • Some local communities still hold stigmas around LGBTQIA+ owned businesses making it hard for them to find new customers and grow their business.

As past Chair of the International Franchise Association’s Women’s Franchise Committee, and current member of the PRIDE Council, I’m passionate about breaking down these barriers to increase diversity in franchising. It’s important to share the challenges LGBQT entrepreneurs face, and provide resources to help them overcome obstacles. I encourage you to offer the following resources to your franchisees and candidates interested in joining your system:


1. Gaingels is an angel investment group focused on helping LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs get access to funding.

2. Pride Fund is an investment fund that provides capital and support to LGBT entrepreneurs. They focus on companies that are developing innovative technologies or services that are relevant to the LGBT community.

3. Pipeline Angels creates capital for trans women, cis women, nonbinary, two-spirit, agender, and gender-nonconforming founders, and offers bootcamps and a pitch summit.

4. Diversity VC drives diversity, equity, and inclusion through private equity.

5. Backstage Capital invests in founders that identify as women, People of Color or LGBTQ+.


6. National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is the largest organization of LGBT-owned and LGBT-friendly businesses in the world. NGLCC provides resources, networking opportunities, and certification for LGBTQ+ owned businesses.

7. LGBTQ Entrepreneurs Facebook Group consists of nearly 2,000 entrepreneurs (and those aspiring to be) interested in growing their businesses. It offers education around scaling business and community support to help members.

8. StartOut is a non-profit organization that supports LGBTQ+ business owners through mentorship, networking, and education. They offer a variety of programs and events, including a mentorship program, an accelerator program, and an annual conference.

9. Stanford Executive Leadership Program is a highly-specialized, one-week program for LGBTQ executives.

10. LGBTQ Hub for Small Businesses is an online platform for small business owners offered through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to access resources and inspiration to build inclusive workplaces.

11. Hello ALICE! specializes in networking events for LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs nationwide.

12. Business Equality Magazine is a print and digital publication dedicated to empowering LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented business communities.

Part of creating an inclusive culture is asking for feedback from all your stakeholders. If you aren’t currently surveying your franchisees and your corporate team to help you understand and navigate what they need, let’s talk more. I’m happy to share the standard questions and sample reports from our franchisee and employee surveys and offer insights on how to build a stronger culture using survey results. Schedule a time below.

Free 10-Minute Demo

Promoting Diversity in Franchising

What do your employees really think? Now’s the time to find out. In 10 minutes, we’ll show you how to get:

  • A confidential assessment of your company culture and employee engagement
  • Your benchmark score, showing how you company compares to other franchises
  • Insights into risks and opportunities in your hiring and retention strategies

Schedule a Demo

About the Author: Michelle Rowan

Michelle is the president of FBR, the former Chair of the International Franchise Association’s Women’s Franchise Committee. and a Certified Franchise Executive. She is the recipient of the 2022 Crystal Compass Award, has facilitated CEO Performance Groups and Executive Networking Groups and is also a mentor of UNH college students. When she is not at work she is usually reading, playing outside, or hanging out with her husband and daughter.
Want more like this? Connect with us...