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National LGBT Economic Empowerment Tour Comes to New York City

New York, NY – June 25, 2013The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s leading Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will host Many Faces. One Dream (MFOD), an economic empowerment tour for communities of color in New York City on October 20-22, 2013.

New York will be the 3rd stop of 13 cities throughout the country that have a significant LGBT presence in communities of color, including Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Newark, Oakland/San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

Harlem Pride, Global Network of Black Pride, and LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent have been chosen to serve as community partners for the NYC tour stop. MFOD will feature financial services and certification agents to support small business development. There will be a Small Business Marketplace where LGBT-owned businesses will have access to the resources and tools needed to grow and sustain their enterprise.

“As community partners for New York City, we are honored to announce the MFOD New York City collaboration during Harlem Pride weekend,” says Carmen Neely, president of Harlem Pride, Inc. “Economic empowerment is essential to the longevity and well-being of LGBT communities of color. Partnering with the NBJC and SBA is another step toward solidifying our community’s foundation and promoting self-sufficiency.”

One key component of the MFOD Tour is the opportunity for LGBT people of color to exchange business-to-business products and services information. MFOD participants will also learn about various certifications available and how to do business with the local, state and federal government.

For each city, the SBA and SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to helping grow the small business market, will provide one-on-one counseling for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Participants will select one of two tracks: “Starting Your Business” and “Taking Your Business to the Next Level.” In the first track, training will be provided on the key elements of a business plan, loans, marketing, and SBA’s program and services. The second track will be geared toward New York City’s LGBT entrepreneurs that would like to expand and grow their business.

“The LGBT small business community is helping us create an economy built to last. That is why we are proud to partner with the National Black Justice Coalition—an organization that represents the many faces and true diversity of the movement for full equality,” says Eugene Cornelius Jr., Deputy Associate Administrator for Field Operations at the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Black Enterprise magazine has also partnered with NBJC as the MFOD national media sponsor. The premier business news and investment resource for African Americans will work to develop content relative to the tour and wealth creation for LGBT communities of color across all platforms—print, digital and television.

“Small business represents the engine of commercial innovation, employment opportunities, and economic development. As the state of the economy gives birth to a virtual nation of entrepreneurs, we will benefit immensely from a transformative development inclusive of LGBT business owners of color,” explains Derek T. Dingle, Black Enterprise Editor-in-Chief.

The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is another key partner of this initiative.“We are thrilled to serve as a conduit for LGBT entrepreneurs of color to not only get certified and strategically grow their businesses, but also establish valuable business connections across the nation,”Justin Nelson, NGLCC Co-Founder and President. “We look forward to meeting business owners and future business owners in the cities where they live and working with them to build strong and fully inclusive local economies.”

“Despite the challenges we face, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people represent an untapped segment of aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners,” explains NBJC Executive Director Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks“Rich with ideas and talent, LGBT men and women are creating and leading their own companies. It’s time to expand the conversation from economic security to economic empowerment. It’s time for us to own our power.”

For more information, visit www.manyfacesonedream.com. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities for MFOD, please contact Richard E. Pelzer II, President of Global Network of Black Pride, at richard@gn-bp.com or 212-537-4069, and Carmen Neely, President of Harlem Pride, at cneely@harlempride.org or 347-846-0362.

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