May 25, 2023 By Czarinna Andres
The 2023 Queens LGBTQ+ Business Convening is set to bring together over 600 business professionals and entrepreneurs from across New York City at LaGuardia Community College on Wednesday, May 31.
The highly anticipated event, now in its third year, aims to provide diverse workforce development opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs. With insightful contributions from business owners, leaders of borough-based Chambers of Commerce and esteemed city officials — including three borough presidents and NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga — the conference promises to be a catalyst for success.
The annual Queens LGBTQ+ Business Convening will feature six expert panels, covering a wide range of essential topics. These engaging discussions will focus on areas such as strategic marketing, capital funding, navigating legal complexities and more. Participants will benefit from the expertise and experiences shared by industry leaders, allowing them to gain valuable insights and best practices for overcoming challenges.
One of the key advantages of attending the Queens LGBTQ+ Business Convening is the opportunity to connect with a multitude of organizations and agencies dedicated to supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs. More than 17 city, state and federal small business agencies will be present, providing vital information and contacts for future inquiries. Additionally, several service organizations committed to offering critical services and funding will be available for networking, fostering valuable connections within the LGBTQ+ business community.
Since its inception in 2019, the Queens LGBTQ+ Business Convening has experienced remarkable growth and success. The event, initially launched by the Bronx Borough President’s Office and the Third Avenue BID, began with 100 attendees at the Bronx Museum. Building on this triumph, the convening returned in 2020 with even greater impact, attracting more than 200 attendees at Metropolitan College in the south Bronx.
Michael Brady, senior vice president of economic development and policy at the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged the vital role of LGBTQ+ businesses.
“Small businesses are truly the backbone of our economy, this is especially true of our diverse LGBTQ+ businesses,” Brady said. “The NYC LGBTQ+ Business Convening was born out of the Bronx and provides a forum for LGBTQ+ businesses to engage and receive services and information in a culturally competent and meaningful way. The Bronx Chamber is proud to continue this strong partnership and looks forward to promoting and cultivating a New York City for all people.”
The collaboration between the Queens Chamber of Commerce, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District and TD Bank brought the event to LaGuardia Community College last year, amplifying its reach and impact.
Dirk McCall de Palomá, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, expressed enthusiasm regarding the event.
“Sunnyside Shines is excited to help bring this event back and partner with these amazing government leaders and economic icons in New York City,” he said. “This event will greatly help our small businesses and provide resources to help take them to the next level.”
Meanwhile, Thomas Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, recognized the chamber’s dedication to supporting inclusive events and businesses.
“The Queens Chamber of Commerce is honored to participate and support the effort,” Grech said. “From our work to save Friends Tavern in Jackson Heights to supporting inclusive events throughout Queens County, this type of work is in our DNA.”
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. emphasized the importance of inclusivity in the borough’s economic growth.
“As Queens’ economy grows like never before coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s critical that we ensure the growth happening before our eyes is inclusive of every community. And that includes our LGBTQIA+-owned small businesses, who are at the forefront of so many communities across ‘The World’s Borough,'” Richards said. “That’s the shared mission of organizations like the Queens Chamber of Commerce, Sunnyside Shines, and so many groups across the borough and I look forward to partnering with all who believe in inclusion with our annual LGBTQ+ Business Convening on May 31.”
Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson echoed the sentiments and emphasized the need to provide LGBTQIA+ businesses with the tools to thrive.
“Our LGBTQIA+ businesses, similarly to other businesses, are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic on our economy and we need to ensure they have the tools necessary to thrive and strive in our city,” she said. “I want to thank the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District and all of the other sponsors for hosting this year’s LGBTQ+ Business Convening and commitment to ensuring our LGBTQIA+ businesses have the resources to overcome systemic barriers to being successful in their communities.”
Media sponsors such as Schneps Media and Gay City News played a crucial role in spreading awareness, while partnerships with prominent figures and organizations, including the Bronx Borough President’s Office, the National Lesbian and Gay Chamber of Commerce – NY and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, further strengthened the event’s influence.
Kellie Parkin, executive director of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce New York, expressed excitement about the event’s impact on businesses.
“We’re excited to convene with so many business-focused organizations and agencies,” Parkin said.
The 2023 Queens LGBTQ+ Business Convening promises to be a transformative event for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and professionals in New York City. With its engaging panel discussions, invaluable networking opportunities, and support from esteemed sponsors, the conference aims to empower attendees with the knowledge, resources, and connections needed to thrive in the business world. As inclusivity and diversity continue to drive economic growth, this event stands as a beacon of support, fostering an environment where LGBTQ+ businesses can flourish and contribute to the vibrant economic landscape of New York City.
The event is free to attend. Click here to register.