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A business meeting

LGBTQ+ Small Business Owners Help Drive Diversity in Detroit's Small Business Ecosystem

Detroit's small business ecosystem thrives on the principles of diversity, inclusivity, and entrepreneurship. In the heart of this vibrant community, LGBTQ+ small business owners have made remarkable contributions, shaping the city's entrepreneurial landscape. We're celebrating pride month by highlighting these trailblazers and their profound influence on Detroit's small business ecosystem, paving the way for a more inclusive and prosperous future.

Breaking Barriers, Creating Opportunities: LGBTQ+ small business owners in Detroit have shattered societal barriers, defied stereotypes, and created new opportunities. Establishing successful ventures across industries - from fashion, to food, to bees, to mopeds - has proven that talent and innovation know no boundaries. They have forged paths for others to follow, showing that diversity in business brings fresh perspectives and drives economic growth.

Inspiring Inclusivity and Acceptance: The influence of LGBTQ+ small business owners extends beyond the confines of their own ventures. Through their visibility and success, they have become beacons of hope, inspiring a more inclusive and accepting society. Embodying authenticity encourages people to embrace their identities, fostering a community where everyone feels valued and welcomed. Based out of the Avenue of Fashion, Motor City Match awardee Good Cakes and Bakes has made its mark on the Detroit community and beyond. Co-Owner April Anderson baked for Oprah Winfrey in 2014, participated on a panel at CGI America in 2015 with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Kresge Foundation President Rip Rapson, and former POTUS Bill Clinton, and in 2018 was a pastry chef for the James Beard Media Awards in NYC.

Cultivating Safe and Diverse Spaces: LGBTQ+-owned businesses have played a pivotal role in creating safe spaces within Detroit. These establishments provide goods and services and serve as gathering places for the LGBTQ+ community and allies. By fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance, they have cultivated vibrant and diverse neighborhoods, contributing to the cultural fabric of Detroit. Gigi's is one example of an LGBTQ+-owned business that has helped create a safe, accepting space in Detroit. Currently celebrating its 50th year, Gigi's is now Detroit's oldest gay bar, which features karaoke, open-mic nights, and drag shows.

Driving Economic Growth: The economic impact of LGBTQ+ small business owners cannot be overstated. Their ventures generate employment opportunities, stimulate local economies, and fuel innovation. By injecting creativity and unique perspectives into their businesses, they attract customers, investors, and tourists, further propelling Detroit's economic growth. Barkside, a Motor City Match Round 22 awardee, has created ample buzz with its innovative dog park and beer garden concept being a first in the city. With 10,000 sq ft of indoor and outdoor space, Barkside plans to host weekend yoga, dog meetups, singles mingle nights, arts and crafts events, and more.

Collaboration and Community Building: LGBTQ+ small business owners in Detroit exemplify the spirit of collaboration and community building. They actively support one another through networks, partnerships, and mentorship, fostering a strong ecosystem where shared knowledge and resources contribute to collective success. This collaborative culture strengthens individual businesses and fosters an environment where entrepreneurship thrives. There are multiple ways for small business owners to connect with Detroit's LGBTQ+ community, including the Detroit Regional LGBT Chamber of Commerce, LGBT Detroit, and the City of Detroit.

Here is a list of LGBTQ+-owned small businesses operating in Detroit:

(List provided by the City of Detroit and Motor City Match - Not a complete list)

Detroit's small business ecosystem owes much of its vitality and success to the contributions of LGBTQ entrepreneurs. They have broken barriers, inspired inclusivity, and driven economic growth through their entrepreneurial endeavors.

As we celebrate the achievements of LGBTQ small business owners in Detroit, let us continue to support and uplift their endeavors, ensuring that diversity and inclusivity remain integral to the city's entrepreneurial spirit.

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