Startout is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting entrepreneurship in the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, and Bisexual (LGBT) communities. They recently announced the 2013 Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentoring Program. The annual event pairs Lesbian entrepreneurs with mentors who’ll help them grow their businesses.
Leanne Pittsford is co-chair of the Startout Program. She’s the owner of the San Francisco-based communications firm, Start Somewhere. She launched the program after noticing a lack of mentors available for Lesbian entrepreneurs.
“It used to be that when you Googled Lesbian mentor or Lesbian role model, [the only results would be] Melissa Etheridge and Ellen DeGeneres,” says Pittsford during an interview with Entrepreneur magazine. “So, part of the program is just creating more stories and visibilities so there are more business mentors and examples out there for the community.”
Lesbian entrepreneurs face particular challenges, especially regarding equality issues. For example, a Lesbian couple might earn significantly less than a Gay couple. So StartOut’s Lesbian Entrepreneur Mentoring Program pairs new Lesbian entrepreneurs with seasoned entrepreneurs, investors and senior level executives; in order to provide advice, resources and knowledge to help grow young businesses.
The mentors are usually other Lesbian entrepreneurs who understand the challenges the program’s entrepreneurs face.
“They are experienced in technology, media, ecommerce, finance, and many other areas,” Pittsford says.
Entrepreneurs can apply to be mentors or to be paired with a mentor in this free program on StartOut’s website. The deadline for applications is February 10, 2013.