LGBT-owned businesses get diversity boost

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Businesses owned by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender entrepreneurs are getting a boost from new programs designed to help them compete for contracts.

Federal agencies, organizations such as the National Football League and more than one-third of Fortune 500 companies have started making explicit efforts to encourage bids from LGBT contractors.

A first-of-its-kind law that took effect in California on New Year’s Day goes a step further by requiring large utility companies to report how much they spend with LGBT-owned companies each year.

The little-known outreach efforts mirror long-standing ”supplier diversity” initiatives aimed at creating economic opportunities for businesses owned by racial minorities, women and disabled veterans.

To be certified as LGBT-owned, applicants must submit documents proving ownership and demonstrate their lesbian, gay, transgender or bisexual status through personal references or other evidence.