Kiln is celebrating Pride Month at our coworking communities in Utah, Colorado, and Idaho. Throughout June, we are hosting events that celebrate our vibrant LGBTQ+ community. Recently, Kiln members have shown their support and spread love in a number of ways. This article compiles resources for aspiring and established LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs, especially those working in the Mountain West.
For the established entrepreneur:
A number of active networking organizations connect LGBTQIA+ professionals in business.
First, StartOut is a national nonprofit that hosts educational events, and provides networking and mentoring services. Recently, StartOut has worked to promote entrepreneurs through media opportunities. Importantly, anyone who is interested can opt to join the network for free, or pay a membership fee to attend geographical events. There are options specific to founders, mentors, and investors.
Second, OutProfessionals hosts a business directory, and posts job listings and events. They also created a popular webinar series that covers career-building and life-enhancing topics, as well as cultural presentations on LGBTQ-related history and art.
Additionally, business directories are working to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion. Open for Business is a coalition of businesses that are dedicated to spreading the message that diverse, inclusive societies are positively tied to economic growth.
For the aspiring entrepreneur:
Reaching Out MBA is an organization that pairs LGBT+ MBA candidates around the United States with each other. Their upcoming ROMBA conference in Washington
DC this October will be the world’s largest gathering of LGBTQ+ business students and alumni, and will feature a career fair with over 100 corporate partners. They also run consulting case competitions, mergers and acquisitions competitions, and startup pitch competitions.
A number of venture capital firms are dedicated to funding underrepresented and LGBTQ+ founders. Backstage Capital has deployed more than $20M in capital since its founding in 2015, LGBT Capital focuses solely on the LGBT consumer segment, and 500 has developed a LGBTQ Syndicate to encourage LGBTQ leaders in business to participate as angel syndicate backers in upcoming rounds. The idea is to bring LGBTQ representation to both sides of the venture capital table. Gaingels is a leading “LGBTQIA+/Allies investment syndicate” that aspires to influence social change through investing.
At Kiln and in the Mountain West:
Our team is bringing small touches of pride to each Kiln community this June. We’ve designed signs and banners where Kiln members can write kind words to each other.
More seriously, however, Kiln is coordinating educational opportunities for members, because we believe that each of us should contribute to a more inclusive, healthier future for LGBTQIA+ identifying people.
Recently, Kiln Lehi hosted Encircle Together to present a panel on reducing suicide rates among transgender youth in Utah. Encircle Together is changing lives and creating safe spaces for LGBTQ youth and their families. Through friendship circles, daily programs, and affordable affirming therapy, Encircle Together has established homes in Provo, St. George, Salt Lake.
Finally, Equality Utah Foundation, which provides citizen lobby training and equity, diversity, and inclusion training for Utah businesses, also hosts a Business Equality Leader program.
Throughout Pride Month, we’re celebrating progress and working towards a more equitable, accepting future for all, regardless of sexual or gender identity. Kiln is more than a place to work. Kiln is a community that rallies for its members and celebrates collective success. We’d love to hear your suggestions!