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Utah LGBTQ+ Chamber president invited to the White House

Liz Pitts, president & CEO of the Utah LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce, joined other top women National LGBT Chamber of Commerce affiliate chamber leaders for a kickoff event at the White House for the U.S. Small Business Administration 2023 Women’s Business Summit.

SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman kicked off the event, which coincided with Women’s History Month, followed by remarks by President Biden, who announced the addition of new federal resources to support women-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs, including a planned expansion of the SBA’s Women’s Business Centers.

President Joe Biden welcomed the crowd, saying that there are over 12 million women-owned businesses in the country, including three small business panelists in the session.

“Small businesses like yours account for 40 percent of the nation’s GDP.  You create two-thirds of all the new jobs.  And you employ nearly half of all private-sector workers,” the president said. “For an American economy to be strong, it’s going to have to have a strong small-business base.”

“Every time someone moves to start a new business, it’s an act of hope. We’re seeing a lot of these across the country. A lot of hope. And once again, it’s women leading the way,” he said. “In 2021, women started and owned half of all the new businesses in the United States, up from less than a third had women started by them in 2019. Women-owned businesses like yours add $1.8 trillion to America’s GDP every year, and that number grows.”

“So, look, on behalf of a grateful nation, I want to thank you all because you’re such an inspiration to so many men and women around the country,” Biden said to close his remarks.

Pitts said that she felt energized by the conference.

“I was honored and thrilled to represent Utah’s LGBTQ+ business owners and leaders of marginalized gender at the White House Tuesday,” she said. “To be in the room with amazing and powerful women, trans and cis, was an experience that will stay with me always; one I will recall, especially when our local social justice work becomes daunting. If I could share with all queer and gender-marginalized leaders the feeling of being included and celebrated as we were at the Whitehouse this week, I would. For now, I will just say thank you to everyone who is working to end gender bias in our workplaces and community at large.”

NGLCC President and Co-Founder Justin Nelson also joined the event.

“It was an extraordinary day having 10 of our top women affiliate leaders represent the LGBTQ business community at the White House,” said Nelson. “We look forward to continuing to work alongside our steadfast partner in SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman as more opportunities and resources are made available to women business owners nationwide.”

In Utah, women own over 89,000 businesses, a surge of 21 percent since 2014, according to the Women’s Business Center of Utah. They noted that women-owned businesses earn $15.7 billion a year in the state.

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