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First-ever Canadian LGBTQ2 trade mission

The Prime Minister’s Special Advisor on LGBTQ2 issues, Member of Parliament Randy Boissonnault, joined the first-ever LGBTQ2 business delegation to the U.S. In partnership with the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC), the delegation of business owners and entrepreneurs took part in the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s (NGLCC) International Business and Leadership Conference in Philadelphia.

CEO of the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC), Darrell Schuurman, says the LGBTQ2 trade mission included LGBT-owned companies in the professional services and marketing to clean tech sectors. This mission also showcased the government’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.


“It was an incredible trade mission.” Says Connie Stacey of the first Canadian minister-led LGBTQ2 trade mission.

The President of Growing Greener Innovations was one of 18 Canadian participants who took part in the mission.

“We came away with some huge opportunities, including Home Depot, Lowe's, UPS, DuPont, Dow and MUCH more. It was the best trade mission I have been on without question,” says Stacey.

CEO of the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC), Darrell Schuurman, says the LGBTQ2 trade mission included LGBTQ2-owned companies in the professional services and marketing to clean tech sectors. This mission also showcased the government’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“Just the fact that we’re doing this and that the federal government is supporting LGBT-owned businesses and helping us grow is the first win already, says Schuurman.

CGLCC data indicates there are 140,000 LGBT-owned businesses in Canada, generating 200-billion dollars in economic impact. Schuurman says diverse-owned businesses have not always had the same access to participate in corporate procurement opportunities.

“LGBT-owned businesses are historically underrepresented in corporate and public supply chain. This trade mission helps to level the playing field, helps our companies get a foot in the door and to make connections.”

The Philadelphia conference in August was the largest gathering of LGBT chambers of commerce and LGBT-owned businesses in the world. In addition, over 200 American corporations, most of which comprise Fortune 500 and 1000 corporations, participated in the conference, each having supplier diversity programs in place.

Supplier diversity programs encourage the use of companies that are majority owned by LGBT, minorities, women, veterans and small business. The program seeks to reflect the workforce and diverse population in procurement.

“If you continue to use the same suppliers, are you bringing the most efficient and innovative solutions to your company? By diversifying the supplier base, companies can achieve both top and bottom line benefits,” explains Schuurman.

He says being able to connect and collaborate with other businesses was a valuable part of the mission.

“The end game of this mission for our companies was to create business opportunities and access new markets,” says Schuurman. “But the more immediate goal was to build and strengthen networks and make connections with other LGBT entrepreneurs and corporate leaders.”

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