Learning, growing, sharing, and enriching your business is at the heart of every StartOut program. Each year thousands of LGBT entrepreneurs experience programming designed by their community for their community with one goal in mind: success.
Access to Capital
StartOut is guided by what’s best for our community of entrepreneurs: providing the most access to the most capital to create the most opportunity. We are the community’s conduit, leveraging our vast network’s connections while maintaining neutrality. This has resulted in the development of programs that allow access to StartOut’s community of investors. StartOut provides touch-points and platforms for investors and LGBT entrepreneurs to connect, especially with the emerging network of LGBT-focused funds and syndicates.
Our signature annual gala recognizes outstanding LGBT entrepreneurs in categories such as: Innovator, Next Generation, Advocate and Leadership. By recognizing and honoring business leaders for outstanding representation of the LGBT community, the StartOut Awards bring further visibility and prominence to the dynamic, innovative, and exceptionally diverse field of LGBT community members fueling the American entrepreneurial spirit.
In our inaugural 2012 awards, well-known LGBT investor and PayPal founder, Peter Thiel, received the Leadership Award.
In 2013 the recipient was philanthropist and business leader Tim Gill and in 2014 advocate and legend George Takei.
StartOut’s educational events are designed to help entrepreneurs succeed in founding, funding, and growing their business ventures. We invite LGBT entrepreneurs at all stages of their journey to expand their knowledge and emerge equipped with the knowledge to help them launch their businesses or scale to even greater heights with renewed momentum.
Whether as one-on-one matching, roundtable group sessions, or across the web, StartOut seeks to connect mentors with members of the LGBT community, providing support to help them build, fund and grow their businesses. As StartOut expands its network nationally, more and more mentors become available to encourage and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentorship Program (LEMP)
StartOut recognizes that the needs of female entrepreneurs may differ from those of men. In that spirit we created the Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentoring Program, which is in its third year. The program lasts six months and pairs seasoned business professionals (mentors) with early stage entrepreneurs (mentees). Previous classes can be viewed here.
Hack-a-thons are excellent ways to merge the entrepreneurial spirit with computer programming prowess and product design education. In an effort to expand the presence of LGBT leaders in STEM and business, StartOut’s annual HackOut has become the nation’s leading LGBT-oriented hackathon where students, hackers, programmers, product marketers, and emerging entrepreneurs form small teams to create new ventures.
StartOut connects members to startups seeking employees at all stages of growth and expertise Members can leverage the StartOut network to recruit and build their teams. Through special partnerships with our partners, unique opportunities will be posted for members of the StartOut network.
StartOut is recognized as the preeminent organization empowering the LGBT entrepreneur community. Our ability to foster discussions and share expertise that catalyze countless opportunities for the community is sought by prominent LGBT and business organizations.
Business Focused Groups:
National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) – StartOut’s community is primarily comprised of LGBT entrepreneurs of scalable, high-growth businesses. There are also tens of thousands of LGBT entrepreneurs working on smaller-scale ventures and are members of their local LGBT chambers of commerce. StartOut is often considered the starting place for businesses that scale to the point of becoming certified NGLCC members / diversity supply chain partners. StartOut partnered with NGLCC to vet and judge their first “Roll the Dice” Pitch Competition in Dallas in 2013 and again in Las Vegas in 2014. StartOut and NGLCC both promoted the competition to their networks and out of over 30 applicants, a StartOut entrepreneur won the competition and received a $10,000 cash prize.
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates - 2014 saw StartOut participate in a major panel alongside the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and OutNow to share the “Business Case for Equality” and the role an empowered LGBT workforce and entrepreneurial culture plays in a prosperous global economy.
Youth and Adult Student Focused Groups:
ROMBA - Reaching Out MBA Conference is an annual gathering of LGBT MBA students considering and learning about various career paths. StartOut began participating with ROMBA in 2009 by establishing, and providing judges, for an entrepreneur pitch competition. StartOut supplies talent and expertise for entrepreneurship panels, speed networking events, mentorship events and pitch competitions with the goal of inspiring LGBT MBA students to consider entrepreneurship.
O4U - The Out for Undergraduate Series offers conferences for youth and students in both technology and business. StartOut has participated in both since 2012 by providing speakers at each conference to inspire LGBT undergraduate students from across the country.