StartOut, the largest national non-profit organization to support, educate and connect LGBTQ entrepreneurs, announced the launch of its Global LGBTQ Entrepreneur Network, powered by Citi Ventures. The Global Network will empower the LGBTQ community by connecting entrepreneurs and their business partners, investors, and mentors with each other, in a safe and secure environment.
Built on the organization’s private online directory, the Global Network will include Citi and Citi Ventures employees and leading LGBTQ entrepreneurs and business partners across the world. The network’s goal is to inspire entrepreneurs and build global connections through premier, direct access to like-minded professionals in order to accelerate job creation, broaden one’s network through direct referrals to others including LGBTQ-friendly investors, and gain access to new distribution channels to build powerful businesses. Members, including Citi employees that opt in, will receive access to StartOut’s private global directory, online forums, mentorship program, and investor portal.
“Bringing a range of perspectives and experiences to the table is not just the right thing to do, it’s simply better for business because it leads to more creative solutions and ultimately stronger results,” said Vanessa Colella, Head of Citi Ventures and Chief Innovation Officer at Citi. “Partnering with StartOut is a natural next step for Citi Ventures as we continue to broaden and diversify our support for entrepreneurs. With Citi’s worldwide presence, we can help unite and support entrepreneurs everywhere.”
“Our driven LGBTQ entrepreneurs deserve the same access and success as their straight counterparts, to benefit the communities in which they live,” said Andres Wydler, executive director of StartOut. “We are excited to team up with these leading networks and honored that Citi, with its tremendous reach and services for entrepreneurs, chose to support this joint program.”
At launch, the program will reach 40,000 professionals in 8 countries, all of whom are invited to participate and engage with one other. The Charter organizations include:
- StartOut – US
- LGBTech – Israel
- The Golden Gate Business Association – US
- Lezervations – Canada & US
- Fruits in Suits – Japan
- Unicorns in Tech – Germany
- Reaching Out MBA(ROMBA) – US
- Series Q – UK
- Queer-Tech-MTL – Canada
- Manhattan Chamber of Commerce – US
- LFME LGBT – Mexico
- Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce – US
- PINKeLAB – Taiwan
StartOut plans to expand the Global Network to all major entrepreneurial hubs in the US and abroad, and will also join forces with other leading LGBTQ entrepreneur organizations. LGBTQ entrepreneurs and their friends who are not members of either participating organizations can sign up individually at www.startout.org/membership/.