Press release

Incorporation of the BeNeLux LGBTIQ+ Business Chamber (BGLBC)

Oct 1, 2022

Dutch version  French version

Tags: Corporate Social Responsibility, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, DE&I, LGBTIQ+, Supplier Diversity

In September 2022, the BeNeLux LGBTIQ+ Business Chamber* (BGLBC) was incorporated as an association via the Chamber of Commerce in Amsterdam.

The BGLBC has been created to give a platform to LGBTIQ+ entrepreneurs, who will be validated as such by the European umbrella organization EGLCC. The initiative was launched by Stefaan De Vreese (Belgium), Rocio Sanchez (American expat in the Netherlands) and Alfred Verhoeven (the Netherlands).

An online inventory survey quickly garnered over 250 participants. Initial meetings were held in Ghent and Amsterdam, where it could be established that the interest in the Chamber was strong.

Why

Many companies and organizations are now underwriting Corporate Social Responsibility, part of which is their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policy. This will first and foremost be an HR instrument to enable and encourage all of their employees to be themselves, but it also extends to Supplier Diversity. This relates to proactively sourcing through suppliers from the LGBTIQ+ community. This is not, however, an identifier that is included in the register of the Chambers of Commerce, nor can it be verified elsewhere, unlike age, gender or ethnicity, to name a few other ‘diverse minorities’ in the business world. Here is where the BGLBC comes in.

Key Targets of the BGLBC

  • Validation of companies as LGBTIQ+ owned and operated, via the EGLCC
  • Promotion of a non-discriminatory environment in the work environment, in association with corporate partners and non-profits
  • Policy Advocacy, also towards governments and NGOs
  • Stimulating Supplier Diversity on the side of corporate partners, governmental and semi-governmental organizations, i.a. by giving access to the Benelux and European database of validated members
  • Promoting awareness and educational work in the field of LGBTIQ+ diversity in the business world
  • Training, coaching, and educating members
  • Networking of LGBTIQ+ entrepreneurs with LGBTIQ+ inclusive companies

The rainbow community

The purchasing power of the LGBTIQ+ community in the Benelux is estimated at €110 bln. The number of LGBTIQ+ entrepreneurs is around 76,000, contributing €16 bln to the Benelux economy and employing 500,000 people.

Membership

Membership in the BGLBC is free. Costs will be covered via partnerships with corporations and (semi)governmental organizations, as well as subsidies and donations.

Partner organizations

The existence of LGBTIQ+ Business Chambers – or Chambers of Commerce as they are called in some markets – has been proven a successful factor of support and development for the community. Starting in the USA with the NGLCC (est. 2002), there are meanwhile Chambers in 7 South American countries, CanadaSouth Africa, and Australia.

In June 2019, the founding of the European LGBTI Chamber of Commerce (EGLCC) was announced at an international conference in Vienna. In addition to the ScandinavianItalian and German Chambers, as well as East meets West, the BGLBC also belongs to this European network.

More information

For more information, please visit the website www.bglbc.org or contact info@bglbc.org. The BGLBC is also present on several social media platforms.

* The Benelux is the union between Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg: it was established in 1944 (predating the EU) and still exists today. We have chosen for the abbreviation LGBTIQ+ to be in line with other Chambers in Europe. We are a Business Chamber, so as not to be confused with the semi-governmental Chamber of Commerce.

Website: www.bglbc.org
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/86759575
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BeNeLuxGLBC
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Benelux-Lgbtiq-Business-Chamber-BGLBC-103432735823928

KvK number Amsterdam: 87536102

Not for publication:

For further questions, information or interviews you can contact:

Alfred Verhoeven, alfred@bglbc.org (61, gay, he/his), BRIGHT Marketing Solutions

Rocio Sanchez, rocio@bglbc.org (27, queer, any pronoun), Marketing by Rocio

Stefaan De Vreese, stefaan@bglbc.org (42, gay, he/his), Titanology