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Jun23

Business of Pride: Celebrating Pride, Love and Equality

Posted on Jun 23, 2018 by Alma Elizondo-Bailey

 

Business of Pride
Brenda's Soul Food and Opportunity Fund

According to the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, LGBTQ entrepreneurs contribute $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy and have created over 33,000 jobs! Although LGBTQ businesses boast average revenues of $2.5 million each year, the LGBTQ small business community still faces challenges and discrimination when seeking traditional financing. Many business owners avoid disclosing their sexual orientation and registering as a certified LGBTQ-owned business. Of the 30.2 million small businesses in the U.S., only 1,060 are certified as LGBTQ-owned. "It's still legal to discriminate (against LGBTQ) in the workplace in some states in this country, and though it's not legal to discriminate in terms of providing credit, I'm pretty sure that's happening," said Opportunity Fund Founder, Eric Weaver.

Celebrating LGBTQ Pride
Opportunity Fund is working to change this. In this “Pride Month,” and every month, Opportunity Fund is exceptionally proud to provide affordable and responsible financing to LGBTQ entrepreneurs, who have incredible talent and potential like Brenda and Libby, married partners and owners of three successful restaurants in San Francisco.

Brenda and Libby were just dating when Brenda came to Opportunity Fund for a loan to open Brenda’s French Soul Food in 2007. “Before I opened, no one would lend me money. Opportunity Fund lent me the first $75,000 to actually buy the business, and I worked with community lenders to buy the equipment,” said Brenda. Brenda’s French Soul Food quickly took off, becoming one of the most popular restaurants in San Francisco - Kendrick Lamar was in last month when he came through town on tour and MadBum is a frequent guest.


Since then, Brenda and Libby have gotten married, started a family, and continue to work together to build and grow other restaurants in San Francisco, like Brenda’s Meat & Three and Libby Jane Café, with the help of Opportunity Fund loans. “We’ve gone from originally four employees, including the two of us, to almost 100 now,” said Libby. “We’ve come back to Opportunity Fund more than once to open our businesses, and we will continue to do that.”

Brenda and Libby open up about their journey with Opportunity Fund in this video.

 
Video of Brenda and Libby of Brenda's French Soul Food
 

Let’s celebrate love, inclusion and equality! Your donation  supports LGBTQ entrepreneurs in our community.

 

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