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Business & Economy

Columbus announces partnership with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Stonewall Columbus

The City of Columbus announced a partnership Wednesday with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce to open more opportunities for LGBTQ businesses in Columbus.

Local businesses that are 51% majority-owned by LGBTQ persons can apply for the new certification program with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

The owner must also have all filings, licenses, permits and authorities required by law to perform the scope of work.

Those benefits include contracting and city procurement, plus training and networking opportunities offered by the city with the goal of growing these businesses.

Chris Cozad volunteers as chair of the Community Relations Commission and founded Alternative Auto Care located downtown, a woman and lesbian-owned business.

“The training and growth opportunities that this certification will offer will help both existing and new LGBT entrepreneurs to thrive, to live, and grow their dream like I did mine,” Cozad said.

The LGBT Chamber of Commerce, a national non-profit, will determine which businesses are eligible for certification. Businesses can apply through a portal on its website. It can take up to 30 days for applications to be processed.

Once certified, those businesses will be registered with the Office of Diversity. These businesses could also be eligible to "stack" certifications to increase access to more resources. Those certifications include Small Business Enterprises, Minority Business Enterprises, Women Business Enterprises, Emerging Business Enterprises and Veteran Business Enterprises.

Tyler Thompson was a reporter and on-air host for 89.7 NPR News. Thompson, originally from northeast Ohio, has spent the last three years working as a Morning Edition host and reporter at NPR member station KDLG Public Radio and reporter at the Bristol Bay Times Newspaper in Dillingham, Alaska.