Guild seeks to study local LGBT economic impact

Survey completion deadline nears

by Matt Comer  Editor  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: November 14, 2012 in News

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When Amanda Breeden set out to find data on the impact of LGBT business owners in Charlotte, she couldn’t find it. How many LGBT people owned businesses? How large were the businesses? How many people did they employ? She didn’t know and, it seemed, no one else did either.

Breeden and the Charlotte Business Guild, the city’s LGBT business and professional organization, decided it was high time they fill that information gap.

“There are all kinds of national figures but nothing locally that says what our presence is in the community and our impact as far as the small business perspective,” said Breeden, who serves as the guild’s vice president.

For the past several months, Breeden and other guild members have been organizing a survey and encouraging small business owners and community members to complete it. When done at the end of this year, the survey, Breeden said, will provide a “baseline” for the city’s LGBT small business impact.

They’re looking for information on business owners’ annual revenue, the number of their part-time and full-time employees and other key criteria.

“Those figures can be very useful in a number of things, in terms of advocating for the community,” Breeden said.

The first phase of the survey focuses primarily on small business owners and their impact. Later iterations of the survey or future projects could include studies on market research and broader community economic impact. Data on how much economic benefit large LGBT events and on LGBT consumer spending in the city also do not exist.

“That would be a sort of phase two, after we have established our baseline,” Breeden said. “What we’re really measuring now is what impact small businesses have with hiring and spending.”

The guild has partnered with a variety of organizations including the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and the Charlotte Chamber.

Those small business owners or other individuals interested in completing the survey can do so online at charlottebusinessguild.org. The survey remains open to responses through the end of the year.