I’m not sure how Justin Nelson, president and a founder of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, performed his math, but he says that are roughly 1.2 million gay-owned businesses in the United States. Ahem. If the U.S. population is 307 million, and we estimate 10 percent of these folks are gay, that means about 4 percent of all gays (and that includes gay children, heh) have their own businesses. Is that a lot?
Numbers make my head hurt! But they arrive in this Times article about gay entrepreneurs meeting up, through organizations like StartOut, to share business tips and business cards. It’s like Facebook or LinkedIn, but with actual physical hand shaking!
But these networking groups are really just two things are their core: a chance to drink cocktails with other gays, and attend group therapy. The Times piece cites all the positive developments that come from gay business owners, which is a great thing to highlight, like the story of Chip Conley (pictured) whose hotel chain is doing gangbusters. But if something like nine of of 10 businesses don’t survive their first two years, that’s a whole lot of desperation and failure to go around, and it’s something that yes, even the fabulous gays have to go through. Which is where groups like StartOut come in: Pay your dues, and you’ve got 300 gay shoulders to cry on while sipping martinis.