Welcome to Breaking the Blueprint — a blog series that dives into the unique business challenges and opportunities of underrepresented business owners and entrepreneurs. Learn how they’ve grown or scaled their businesses, explored entrepreneurial ventures within their companies, or created side hustles, and how their stories can inspire and inform your own success.

This is especially true for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and professionals, as finding opportunities to learn from people who share similar life experiences can be challenging.

In this post, we’ve curated a list of annual events and conferences for LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and professionals. Whether you’re seeking mentorship, training from experts, or just some old-fashioned socializing with like-minded business owners, these events are made for you. While most have already taken place for 2022, keep your eyes peeled for the 2023 dates.

Their summits feature networking and mentorship opportunities, career fairs, leaders and celebrity speeches, parties, and educational sessions. While much of the content is geared toward the tech world, many sessions focus on broader topics like leadership, diversity, politics, and advocacy, which may appeal to any LGBTQ entrepreneur.

This conference is intended for any professional interested in LGBTQ+ workplace equality — especially executives, HR and DEI experts, Employee Resource Group leaders and members, and more. In addition to hosting learning sessions and keynote speeches, this event provides attendees with networking opportunities, workshops, and social events.

The NLGCC, or the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, is the only organization that offers a certification for LGBTQ-owned businesses (Certified LGBT Business Enterprise®).

In addition to networking and keynote speeches, attendees get access to leadership programming, speeches, B2B bootcamps, expos, matchmaker meetings between suppliers and companies, and more. The 2022 event was in Las Vegas in August.

This organization aims to drive equality and advocate for inclusion in business. They have several talent development programs for emerging leaders, women, and board-level executives.

StartOut exists to support LGBTQ entrepreneurs and accelerate their businesses. The organization has chapters in several major cities, such as Austin, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York, where local LGBTQ+ business owners can connect and attend frequent educational and social events.

The conference features social receptions, career fairs, panels, workshops, and competitions. LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with business backgrounds can utilize this event for professional development, networking, and recruiting talent. The 2022 conference was in October in Washington, D.C.

Cities such as Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Washington, D.C. have Out Professionals chapters and host monthly in-person events to help LGBTQ+ people build their careers and network. The organization is expanding and seeking more cities where people want to start chapters.  

We included Lesbians Who Tech & Allies in this general list since technology touches nearly everything these days, and its sessions appeal to a broad range of professionals.

However, there are also many smaller, industry-specific LGBTQ+ events and conferences. If you want to network, socialize, and learn with your peers in your field, see if your industry has something specifically for LGBTQ people. Here are just a few of the ones out there:

Some cities, regions, and states have their own LGBTQ chambers of commerce, where LGBTQ-owned businesses and allies can become members.

Every year, more cities, counties, and regions host annual Pride celebrations. While you’ll typically find parades and marches, many Pride events also feature festivals with booths for rent. Entrepreneurs often use this opportunity to sell goods, create a local presence, or promote their business with freebies or giveaways. If your area has a Pride celebration, consider renting a booth.

LGBTQ+ professionals have many opportunities available to connect with and learn from other entrepreneurs at events. All of the summits on this list are valuable opportunities to learn and grow — select one that speaks most to your needs and get ready to mingle.

source