Study Reveals LGBT Owned Canadian Businesses Face Unique Business Challenges

A study finds that Canadian LGBT+ businesses face challenges that other businesses don’t.

News Brian Webb

This article was published on June 8th, 2021

With pride month finally here, there’s a lot of talk about supporting local, LGBT+ owned and operated businesses — especially when it comes to buying all your pride merch. This is good, but many fail to address why doing so is so important: businesses that are owned by members of the LGBT+ community face a lot more obstacles than those that aren’t. 

This past May, Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) and Deloitte completed a study that shows Canadian LGBT+ business owners face not only discrimination, but also unique and often systemic business challenges. While it certainly is not a surprise, taking a deeper look into these challenges will help push forward the change that needs to come. 

“LGBT+ businesses and professionals continue to face barriers, discrimination and business challenges such as loss of contracts and underrepresentation in corporate and public supply chains,” said Darrell Schuurman, chief executive officer of the LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce. 

His statement isn’t false — according to the study, 21% of respondents stated that they faced challenges and discrimination because of being part of the LBGT+ community. However, that isn’t a shock either, as the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association reported that only 73 UN member States have laws protecting from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. 

The study, which surveyed 192 LGBT+ owned, operated, and controlled businesses, also found numerous other issues that LGBT businesses face: 21% of those who participated in the study stated that they had faced challenges succeeding abroad due to their being part of the LGBT+ community, and 25% of those who participated stated that they lost opportunities for their companies due to LGBT ownership. 

The study, which surveyed 192 LGBT+ owned, operated, and controlled businesses, also found numerous other issues that LGBT businesses face: 21% of those who participated in the study stated that they had faced challenges succeeding abroad due to their being part of the LGBT+ community, and 25% of those who participated stated that they lost opportunities for their companies due to LGBT ownership. 

It’s obvious there’s an issue, but why is this issue so prevalent? It could be due to the fact that of the LGBT+ founded/owned small businesses who indicated they are facing challenges, 41% identified challenges acquiring funding and financing and 33% the inability to access mentorship opportunities that are often cited as structural barriers to entrepreneurship in Canada. Starting a business is hard, and it only becomes more challenging when a lot of the opportunities that are available aren’t accessible at all. 

Now that we as a community have the statistics and information in our hands, what can we do to help LGBT+ businesses thrive? We can support them. With the power of social media, there’s the ability to search for LGBT+ owned businesses right at your fingertips, or you could also reach out to your MP or MPP, and ask that action be taken to ensure that LGBT owned businesses get the same opportunities as those not owned by members of the LGBT community. 

To find out more about CCGLC and their work, visit their website at https://www.cglcc.ca/.

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