New York City Bill Will Include LGBT-Owned Businesses in Certification Program
Photo Credit: The Empire State Building is reflected in a shopping window on February 27, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

New York City Bill Will Include LGBT-Owned Businesses in Certification Program

On Thursday, New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres plans to introduce a bill that will include LGBT-owned businesses in the city’s certification program, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Currently, New York City’s Department of Small Businesses Services’ Division of Economic and Financial Opportunity certifies businesses owned by women and minorities. The program helps promote equity by giving them access to government contracts, according to NYC Business

The new bill will ask the department to do the same for businesses owned by LGBT people, so they can also benefit from the program. Torres, who represents the Bronx, said without this bill, LGBT businesses are missing out on opportunities.

“Even though the LGBT community creates immense economic activity to the city, and the city is known as the bastion of LGBTQ equality, there’s no certification that recognizes LGBTQ business as part of the diversity of the marketplace,” Torres said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

To certify LGBT-owned businesses, the bill looks to third-party organizations like the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). The bill also has the support of the City Council LGBT Caucus.

NYC wouldn’t be the first to introduce this type of certification to LGBT-owned businesses, as the Wall Street Journal reported Nashville, Tenn. and states like Massachusetts and California are already on board.

However, it would make NYC the “largest municipality to intentionally include LGBT-owned businesses in municipal contracting and economic development opportunities,” the NGLCC’s press release said.

The bill does have favor in the mayor’s office already.

A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio told the Wall Street Journal, “We believe all New Yorkers should be given a chance to participate in our economy, which is why the Department of Small Business Services provides a host of resources that help a variety of entrepreneurs establish, grow, and sustain their businesses.”