StartOut Announces a $250,000 Wells Fargo Grant to Empower LGBTQ+ Entrepreneurs

December 10, 2021 6:29 am
Written by: StartOut

SAN FRANCISCO (December 10, 2021) StartOut, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization supporting LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs, is proud to announce that it received a $250,000 grant from Wells Fargo as part of the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund Program

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wells Fargo created the Open for Business Fund to support Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and other nonprofit organizations that serve diverse small businesses, with a focus on historically underrepresented demographics. This program engages with CDFIs and nonprofits to help businesses manage the economic effects of COVID-19 by providing needed capital, technical assistance, and long-term recovery and resiliency support.

Through this generous donation, StartOut will to support 500 deserving LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with its comprehensive suite of programs and resources that include the following:

  • Pairing with StartOut’s experienced mentors 
  • Curated introductions to institutional and angel investors
  • Access to one-on-one expert sessions 
  • Targeted introductions to sponsor companies 
  • Invaluable connections through the NetworQ online directory 
  • Access to in-person (post Covid) and virtual educational and networking events 

“We’re honored to receive such a generous grant from the Open for Business Fund program,” StartOut Executive Director Andres Wydler said. “Leveling the playing field for 500 most deserving, dedicated, smart and driven LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs will not only produce economic results and an expected 1,000+ jobs, but also generate another 500 role models for our community. We can’t thank Wells Fargo enough for making this happen.”

“We are helping small businesses get back to growing again. Having access to trusted experts can be a critical turning point for small business owners facing financial hardships and other business challenges,” said Christina Pels-Martinez, region bank president, Wells Fargo. “Through the Open for Business Fund, we’re enlisting the expertise of StartOut and other CDFIs to offer a mix of resources and support systems that can help local minority-owned small businesses navigate the economic impacts of COVID-19 at this critical time.”    


About StartOut 

Founded in 2009, StartOut, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is the largest national organization to support LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with 18K members nationwide. StartOut’s mission is to increase the number, diversity, and impact of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and amplify their stories to drive the economic empowerment of the community. StartOut helps aspiring LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs start new companies; supports current entrepreneurs as they grow and expand their existing businesses; and engages successful entrepreneurs as role models and mentors, on its online portal and through targeted events nationwide. For more information, please visit