Becoming a certified LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE) is only way to qualify for inclusion in corporate supply chains.

Certification Criteria

The LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois is the State of Illinois’ premier organization for increasing business opportunities between major buying organizations and certified LGBT businesses. To become a certified LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE) your business must meet all of the following requirements.  
The LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois maintains and upholds the NGLCC’s national certification processes and standards to guarantee the validity and integrity of each certification granted to an Illinois LGBT business enterprise.
As with other types of diverse business certifications in the US, both current and historical facts are considered in determining ownership qualifications and participation in the management and daily operations of your business enterprise.  

All applicants for certification must meet these requirements:

[nectar_dropcap color=””]1. [/nectar_dropcap] Your business enterprise is a for-profit business.

[nectar_dropcap color=””]2. [/nectar_dropcap] Your business enterprise is at least 51% LGBT owned, operated, managed, and controlled by an LGBT person or persons who are either US Citizens or lawful permanent residents.

[nectar_dropcap color=””]3. [/nectar_dropcap] Your business enterprise exercises independence from any non-LGBT business enterprise.

[nectar_dropcap color=””]4. [/nectar_dropcap] Your business enterprise has been formed as a legal entity in the United States or its trust territories.

Certification Benefits

The LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois is an organization completely focused on creating strategic alliances between our buying members and our certified LGBT business enterprises (LGBTBEs).

Your annual contribution includes these benefits:

1.) Access to 160+ corporate and agency supply chains.  Over 1/3 of the Fortune 500 corporations recognize NGLCC LGBTBE certifications and seek these industry leading businesses for procurement and contracting.

2.) Access to that connects a constantly growing network of LGBT entrepreneurs.

3.) Access to educational opportunities with business experts:  seminars, classes, webinars, mentorships, industry cluster meetings, ScoreChicago and more to help your business thrive.

4.) Access to the Supplier Innovation Center in Washington, DC that is ideal for meetings, retreats, or just a place to work while in Washington, DC.

5.) Access to the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois offices for business meetings.

6.) Access to NGLCC premier events such as the NGLCC National Dinner and the NGLCC’s International Business & Leadership Conference.

7.) Access to the LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s networking events such as our monthly Business-to-Business (B2B), quarterly Mix n’ Mingle, annual Boat Cruise, and Chamber Awards.

8.) Access to participate with the LGBT Chamber of Commerce at Illinois LGBT community-wide events such as Andersonville’s Midsommarfest, Chicago Pride Parade, and Northalsted’s Market Days®.

Certification Process

LGBT Business Enterprise Certification (LGBTBE) is easy and involves four simple steps.

[nectar_dropcap color=””]1. [/nectar_dropcap] Visit to apply and build your profile.

[nectar_dropcap color=””]2. [/nectar_dropcap] Submit all requested supporting documents:  A full list of all documents requested to support your LGBT certification can be found at

[nectar_dropcap color=””]3. [/nectar_dropcap] Schedule and complete an official NGLCC site visit. In Illinois, your official NGLCC site visit will be conducted by an NGLCC trained site visitor from the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois.

[nectar_dropcap color=””]4. [/nectar_dropcap] National Certification Committee Review. The NGLCC’s Certification Committee meets monthly and will review your application after your site visit has been completed.  If your application meets the eligibility requirement you will become our newest certified LGBT Business Enterprise®.


The NGLCC’s Supplier Diversity Initiative Team is a great resource and is always ready to help you through the entire certification process. Should you need additional assistance during the certification process, the NGLCC Supplier Diversity Initiative Team’s contact details are: Telephone: 202-234-9181  |  Email:  |  Website:


What is Supplier Diversity?

Supplier Diversity is the intentional inclusion of socially and / or economically disadvantaged groups in procurement opportunities.

Certified ‘diverse’ suppliers are for-profit businesses that are at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled by a person or persons who identify by race, gender, military service, LGBTQ, or as a person with disabilities.

The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is the exclusive 3rd party certification body that verifies eligible businesses as being LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender) majority owned, operated and managed.

Subsequently, it is the NGLCC that grants the LGBT Business Enterprise designation with this process in Illinois being done in conjunction with the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois (LGBTCC).

Email LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois at

LGBT Business Enterprise Certification (LGBTBE): Why is ‘certification’ important?

Certification as an LGBTBE gives your business the opportunity to compete for sourcing contracts with the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois (LGBTCC) and the National Gay and Lesbian Camber of Commerce (NGLCC) Supplier Diversity Corporate Partners.

These corporate partners are committed to creating a diverse supply chain that is inclusive of LGBT certified businesses and have targeted amounts of spending with diverse business enterprises. Obtaining your business LGBT certification is a necessary element of gaining access to these millions of corporate, federal, state and municipality dollars, and it also includes the following additional benefits:

  • National recognition by America’s top corporations as a certified LGBT Business Enterprise
  • Eligibility to exhibit at the annual NGLCC International Business and Leadership Conference as well as regional and local LGBTCC events.
  • Automatic inclusion in the LGBTCC and the NGLCC’s online searchable database of certified businesses which is accessible by LGBTCC and NGLCC Corporate Partners.
  • Use of the NGLCC Certified Business logo on your marketing materials that identifies your business as a certified LGBT Business Enterprise to the NGLCC’s national network of affiliated LGBT Chambers and all corporate partners.
  • Eligibility to receive sourcing opportunity emails from the NGLCC / LGBTCC and its corporate partners.
  • Eligibility to personally connect and build relationships with fellow LGBTBEs across the nation, internationally, and with corporate partners and organizational allies.
  • Eligibility to participate in mentorship programs, leadership trainings, and scholarship opportunities presented by the NGLCC Corporate Partners.

What does LGBT Business Enterprise Certification cost?

The fee for LGBTBE certification by the NGLCC is $400. This fee is ‘waived’ for members of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois. As an LGBTCC member you are an affiliate member of the NGLCC.


As a current member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, you are automatically a member of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) with access to member discounts, programs, advertising discounts, financial support, and business advocacy. support, and business advocacy. Your business is also listed in their online business directory with the content being mirrored from the Chicago Directory. All these benefits are provided free of charge as long as your business remains a dues paying member of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois.

About the NGLCC

NGLCC is the only national not-for-profit advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding the economic opportunities and advancements of the LGBT business community. Seeking new opportunities for community advocacy, specifically in the economic arena, the NGLCC was founded as the exclusive organization for certification as an LGBT-owned business enterprise. The NGLCC is the direct link between Corporate America and LGBT businesses and entrepreneurs.

What they do

  • Facilitate cooperation among state and local LGBT chambers and business groups.
  • Provide the ability to collect and disseminate news and information central to the success of LGBT businesses and professionals on a national level.
  • Partner with the financial services sector to enhance opportunities for members to start or grow their business.
  • Work with corporate partners, other organizations and the community at large to ensure increased opportunity and equality for LGBT professionals.
  • Provide supplier diversity certification to help LGBT businesses gain more procurement opportunities.
  • Stay on the forefront of legislative issues and provide strong lobbying efforts for LGBT business causes and nondiscriminatory affairs.

Supplier Diversity Initiative

The NGLCC Supplier Diversity Initiative (SDI) offers businesses a tool to make connections and open doors with America’s top corporations and each other. The SDI certifies Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and/or Transgender owned Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs) and works to provide opportunities for LGBTBEs to gain exposure within corporate procurement processes.

The NGLCC SDI offers certification to LGBTBEs, as well as a host of opportunities to enhance your business’ visibility to corporations seeking to do business with LGBT suppliers. Corporations can search for certified LGBTBEs through our exclusive searchable LGBT supplier database, as well as meet face-to-face with potential suppliers at NGLCC SDI matchmaking events, which are held across the country throughout the year. Certified LGBTBEs may also be eligible for scholarship programs, mentorship and leadership training, and other business development tools to help your business grow.

To learn more about this program, contact us at

First Ever “America’s LGBT Economy” Report Released by National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

View NGLCC Article & Download Report

Key findings in the report include:

  • In 2015, certified LGBTBEs contributed over $1.15 billion to the US economy; if all LGBT business owners in America are considered, the figure is over $1.7 trillion;

  • Over 900 Certified LGBTBEs have created over 33,000 jobs in the United States;

  • LGBTBEs have an average revenue of $2,475,642, with at least one LGBTBE reporting $180,000,000 in annual gross;

  • Average LGBT enterprises have been in business at least 12 years— far above national average, as some reports state nearly half of small businesses fail in their first five years;

  • The number of non-white LGBT business owners continues to increase annually—now at over 17%, bolstered by NGLCC’s leadership in the National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC) which brings together all minority business communities

“The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is elated to be able to evidence through this report what we’ve observed since our founding fifteen years ago: that America’s LGBT business owners are driving our economy upward and deserve every opportunity to keep creating jobs and innovating our industries.

The 1.4 million LGBT business owners NGLCC advocates for have truly earned a place at the equality table,” said NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson.

“If you are an LGBT business owner and not yet certified, you’re leaving opportunities on the table to help your business and our economy grow. For the LGBT community, this also means we are missing out more role models, job creators, and future success stories that prove ‘If you can buy it, a Certified LGBTBE can supply it.’ ”