Certified LGBT+ companies in New Jersey will now have an easier time obtaining work on public projects, thanks to an executive order signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday.
The order elevates LGBT+ companies to the same level as minority- and women-owned businesses, meaning certified LGBT+ companies now will count for any projects that provide extra incentives — or flat-out require a certain percentage of awards — for companies from undeserved groups.
The move was hailed by the New Jersey Pride Chamber of Commerce, which said it will make it easier for LGBT+ companies to thrive in the state — as well as attract more such companies.
NJPCC Executive Director Augusto Penaranda said the executive order shows the state is proving to be an ally of the LGBT+ community.
“Including LGBT-owned businesses in Treasury’s Uniform Certification System, currently used by SMWBE businesses, will allow more equitable participation for these businesses in the state’s economic initiatives, and hopefully attract new LGBT businesses to relocate to New Jersey,” he said.
Penaranda said the NJPCC helps to prepare its members to become certified as LGBT Business Enterprises by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the only certification body for LGBT-owned businesses in the country.
The NJPCC, which is the state’s official affiliate of the National LGBT Chamber, said its membership has grown by 60% since the start of 2022, making it the fastest growing professional network in New Jersey.
The group currently has more than 200 members.
NJPCC President Stephen Blazejewski said he expects those numbers — and business opportunities — to increase following the order.
“LGBT entrepreneurs are statistically very likely to encounter a number of socioeconomic disadvantages when starting their own business,” he said. “Thanks to Gov. Murphy’s leadership, LGBT-owned businesses in New Jersey will now be included in the state’s existing M/WBE program, providing them with more equitable access to bids and contracts that could completely change the trajectory of their companies.”
NJPCC officials said this executive order ensures that New Jersey is not only committed to diversifying its economic landscape, but is also leading the nation in extending additional equal rights to the LGBT+ community.
Collectively, LGBT-owned businesses contribute $1.7 trillion into the national economy, NJPCC officials said.