During a May 3 visit to Lambertville’s Union Coffee – an LGBTQ+-owned coffee shop – Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 295, instructing the Department of the Treasury to establish a State-backed certification program for LGBTQ+-owned business enterprises.
The certifications, which would be free of charge, will expand access to public and private contracting opportunities, and enable businesses to identify as LGBTQ+-owned in their advertising.
“Enabling the certification of businesses as LGBTQ+-owned will encourage the success of these enterprises by enhancing their visibility, providing them with an extra layer of authenticity in their business ventures, and demonstrating that they are welcome and vital participants in our economy,” Murphy said. “I am honored to support the endeavors of entrepreneurs from a historically underrepresented community through the creation of this certification program. New Jersey will always value the contributions of our LGBTQ+ community.”
Such certification programs already exist for small businesses and businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans and disabled veterans.
“From day one, Treasury has been committed to opening doors for all businesses to grow and thrive. In 2021, as businesses faced unique challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Treasury waived certification fees for small, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses,” said Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio. “By expanding this benefit to help LGBTQ+-owned businesses, we can help more enterprises successfully launch and gain a foothold in their respective industries.”
The certification offers State-backed documentation of a business’ status, which is beneficial in pursuing contracting opportunities at the local, state and federal level, as well as in the private sector.
“New Jersey continues its tradition as a leader in LGBT rights by living up to its promise and creating greater access to the American Dream,” said National LGBT Chamber of Commerce Co-founder and President Justin Nelson. “We thank Gov. Murphy’s administration for their commitment to the LGBT community – and to all business owners – throughout New Jersey.”
“One of the most rewarding things about owning a small business is having the opportunity to create an openly inclusive space for my employees and customers alike,” said Carolyn Gadbois, owner of Union Coffee. “I feel so proud that Union Coffee has become known as a haven for the LGBTQ+ community, and I believe Gov. Murphy’s executive order will help open even more doors on our collective path toward visibility and equality.”