Published Mar 04, 2021 by Maggie Martin
Houston is the first city in Texas – and one of the largest in the country – to expand municipal contracting and procurement opportunities with LGBT-owned businesses.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner signed an executive order March 4, creating an inclusive policy that aims to provide fair and equal access to contracting opportunities and economic development for LGBT businesses.
“The signing of this executive order coincides with the five-year anniversary of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber, and I am especially proud to celebrate these two historic milestones,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The City of Houston has always been committed to providing fair and equal access to economic and contracting opportunities to all eligible businesses – and we are proud to formally memorialize this commitment to the LGBTQ community.”
The City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity (OBO) will implement and oversee the initiative, as well as oversee an online certification directory of LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs). OBO will also provide business development and workforce development programs to Houston's small business community.
“We look forward to the increased participation and awareness of the LGBT community in our programs, which are meant to help businesses grow and increase their success in bidding for contracts in both the public and private sectors,” said OBO Director Marsha E. Murray.
Business owners will also have access to educational, mentorship, networking and access to capital programs offered by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
“As the most diverse city in the country, the City of Houston is sending a strong message that our great city is open to all including LGBTQ owned businesses," said Tammi Wallace, co-founder, president & CEO of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce, a Partnership member. "The LGBTQ business community plays a vital role in the local economy and is an important part of our diverse city. Inclusion of the LGBTBE® Certification means that LGBTQ entrepreneurs can engage authentically and have access to economic opportunities, tools and resources. Thank you to Mayor Turner for paving the way in Texas and for his commitment to the LGBTQ business community."
Read our Q&A with Tammi Wallace about the history of Houston's LGBT business community.