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  • Writer's pictureAshley Wenger

PRIDE 2023: Resources and Events for LGBTQIA+ Founders

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

Happy PRIDE Month!

In June of 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, NYC. The brutal raid incited an uprising from local patrons and community members, which became known as the Stonewall Riots, or Stonewall Uprising. These riots became a major catalyst for LGBTQ rights in the United States, and lead to the formation of multiple gay rights organizations. A year later, in June 1970, thousands of people marched from Stonewall Inn to Central Park to commemorate the raid at the Stonewall Inn. This march became known as America’s first gay pride parade (CBS). Now, people across the country celebrate LGBTQIA+ rights and commemorate the historic Stonewall Rights by hosting PRIDE events and parades throughout all of June.

Although a lot of progress has been made in the last several years for gay rights, there is a lot of work still yet to be done, especially in regard to equality for LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs. According to the StartOut Index from 2019, only 0.5% of funding for startups went to LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs. This is a disappointing disparity considering LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs created 36% more jobs and 114% more patents compared to the average entrepreneur.

Thankfully, there are a number of organizations and resources across the country, as well as right here in the Shenandoah Valley, that are working to fight these inequalities. Their missions are to help LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs grow, be successful, and fulfill their dreams. Check out the list of some of these resources below, as well as a couple of the PRIDE events happening near you this month!


Support, Resources, and Funding for LGBTQIA+ Entrepreneurs and Business Owners


Interested in certifying your LGBTQ+-owned business? The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce offers a certification for LGBTQ-owned small businesses.


National Pride Grant for LGBTQIA+ Small Businesses: Founders First is providing eligible small businesses the chance to receive one of 25 grant packages totaling $25,000. Applications include information about your business, as well as a 1-3 minute pitch video. The deadline to apply is JUNE 6th! Apply here.


Shenandoah LGBTQ Center: The Shenandoah LGBTQ Center is a supportive network where LGBTQ people of all ages in the Shenandoah Valley and Greater Appalachia can thrive as equal, healthy, supported members of our society. The center offers peer-to-peer support groups and a series of life skills classes to address the mental and physical health, job readiness, and resiliency of LGBTQ people of all ages.


The Friendly City Safe Space: The Friendly City Safe Space is a community for LGBTQ+ people and aspiring allies of all ages, racial and ethnic identities in Harrisonburg and surrounding counties that will empower them with the resources, education, and community necessary to thrive as equal, healthy, supported, essential members of our society.


LGBT Tech: LGBT Tech encourages the continued early adoption and use of cutting-edge, new, and emerging technologies by providing information, education, and strategic outreach for LGBT communities. LGBT Tech empowers LGBT communities and individuals and ensures that media, telecommunications, and high technology issues of specific concern to LGBT communities are addressed in public policy conversations.



StartOut Founders Program: Centered on its unparalleled community, StartOut enables LGBTQ+ founders with curated access to resources, expert support, and engagement to accelerate their ideas and businesses to grow, innovate, obtain financing, create jobs, and give back to the communities that were instrumental in their success.


NGLCC XLR8 Certified LGBTBE® Capacity Development Program: This comprehensive initiative expands upon many of NGLCC’s award-winning programs to fund, train, and elevate LGBTQ-owned businesses and to help them create sustainable and meaningful growth for their companies.


Backstage Capital: Backstage Capital invests in companies led by underrepresented founders and provides a list of resources for Women, People of Color, and LGBTQ founders that include office hours, financial education, and more.


The PRVider Portal: An anonymous, safe space to share your personal experiences with healthcare providers. The more information we receive from the community, the better we can create and disseminate the tools needed to address current and future health needs for LGBTQIA+ persons in rural Virginia.


The ARROW Project: The ARROW Project is a community-focused mental health and wellness organization that aims to alleviate barriers to access of mental health services by creating innovative partnerships, programming, & professional development opportunities in the SAW Region of Virginia. It supports the LGBTQIA+ community in the SAW Region of Virginia through outpatient therapy, community engagement, and services, and psychological assessment and evaluation.


PRIDE 2023 Events in the Shenandoah Valley


June 2nd: Join the Shenandoah LGBTQ Center and Augusta County Library for an LGBTQ+ History & Culture Talk at Fishersville Main on Friday, June 2 from 1-2:30 pm!


June 9th: QUEERS AMONGST THE STARS at Ciders from Mars- Check out a live set by Chapel Hill sci-fi/electro-pop duo Touch Tank followed by enough dancing to make the planet quake. This is a costume party organized by members of the staff and we'd love to see everyone dressed to cosmically impress! Everyone is welcome at this event! There is no cover but funds are being raised for the Shenandoah LGBTQ Center and donations are requested.


June 9th-10th: PRIDE Outdoors Weekend- Staunton Pride will be hosting a group camping and outdoors activity weekend on June 9-11th, at Sherando Lake Recreation Area. Folks can choose to camp for one or two nights -- all in a safe, inclusive, and affirming environment.


June 28th: Sage Bird Ciderworks Pride Night- Sage Bird Ciderworks is excited to offer this monthly event to support the LGBTQ+ community in conjunction with the Friendly City Safe Space (FCSS)! A portion of the proceeds will go to support the FCSS each night.



Know of an event that you don't see listed here? DM us on Facebook or Instagram to let us know, and we'll reshare it!

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