The Top 15 Events and Conferences for LGBTQ Entrepreneurs in 2024

As an LGBTQ entrepreneur, one of the most powerful things you can do for your business is immerse yourself in the wisdom and support of your community. Attending conferences and events tailored to queer and trans founders not only helps you sharpen your skills and widen your perspective as a business owner, but also grants you invaluable opportunities to network with fellow LGBTQ professionals.

The benefits of these gatherings are well-documented: a recent survey by StartOut found that 78% of LGBTQ entrepreneurs who attended business events reported making a meaningful connection that advanced their business, while 64% gained skills or knowledge that directly benefited their company.[^1]

So if you‘re ready to take your business to new heights in 2024, mark your calendar for these 15 can‘t-miss events and conferences for LGBTQ entrepreneurs.

National & International LGBTQ Business Events

1. NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference

The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) International Business & Leadership Conference is the grand dame of queer business gatherings. 2024‘s event will take place August 13-16 in Tampa, Florida, convening more than 1,400 LGBTQ business leaders from around the globe.[^2]

Attendees will gain access to:

  • Inspiring keynotes from LGBTQ business icons
  • 1:1 matchmaker meetings with Fortune 500 companies
  • 50+ educational sessions on business and leadership topics
  • B2B boot camp and expo for LGBTQ-certified businesses
  • Lavish evening networking receptions

Whether you‘re seeking major corporate contracts, game-changing insights, or unparalleled community, the NGLCC Conference delivers. Past speakers include Arlan Hamilton, Angelica Ross, and Billie Jean King – expect an equally star-studded lineup in 2024.

2. StartOut Annual Awards

StartOut, the nation‘s largest nonprofit supporting LGBTQ entrepreneurs, will hold their glittering Annual Awards gala in San Francisco in late September 2024 (exact date TBA). The elegant event celebrates queer and trans business leaders across categories like:

  • Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Corporate Advocate of the Year
  • Social Impact Entrepreneur of the Year
  • NextGen Innovator of the Year

In addition to a VIP reception and inspiring awards ceremony, guests will have ample opportunity to network and socialize with over 300 LGBTQ entrepreneurs, corporate sponsors, and community leaders over gourmet food and cocktails.[^3] It‘s an unforgettable evening of inspiration and connection in the heart of the startup world.

3. ROMBA Conference 2024

Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) supports LGBTQ MBA students and alumni around the world – and each year, their ROMBA Conference offers unmatched opportunities to network with queer business leaders and cutting-edge companies. The 2024 conference will welcome over 1,800 attendees to Los Angeles from October 17-19.

Highlights will include:

  • 100+ workshops, panels and case competitions
  • LGBTQ Career Expo with 80+ corporate sponsors
  • Exclusive networking receptions and social events
  • Professional development tracks for entrepreneurs

While geared towards current and aspiring MBAs, the event is a goldmine for any LGBTQ entrepreneur looking to recruit top talent, meet potential investors and business partners, or level up their own skills. Past attendees call it "the best LGBTQ professional conference out there."[^4]

Industry-Specific LGBTQ Conferences

4. NLGJA National Convention

If you‘re an LGBTQ media or journalism entrepreneur, the NLGJA Convention is your industry‘s premier gathering. NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists supports queer media professionals year-round and convenes over 500 journalists, news executives, communications leaders and educators annually.

2024‘s convention will take place September 5-8 in Washington, D.C. Attendees will participate in:

  • 30+ workshops on journalism skills and LGBTQ media issues
  • CONNECT: LGBTQ Media Summit on improving queer coverage
  • Networking events with top media companies
  • LGBTQ Journalists Hall of Fame Induction

With past speakers like Rachel Maddow, Rashad Robinson, and Raquel Willis, it‘s a must for anyone looking to advance LGBTQ media representation.[^5] As convention chair Sharif Durhams put it, "This is the one time each year when LGBTQ journalists can look around the room and realize there are others like us."

5. Out & Equal Workplace Summit

While not exclusively for entrepreneurs, Out & Equal‘s annual Workplace Summit is the largest conference on LGBTQ workplace equality in the world, with over 5,000 attendees each year.[^6] If you‘re an LGBTQ founder looking to champion equality in your own company or stay on the cutting edge of diversity and inclusion, this event is for you.

The 2024 Summit will be held in Orlando from October 1-3 and feature:

  • 100+ workshops on LGBTQ leadership and inclusion
  • Expo Hall with 150+ corporate sponsors
  • Executive Forum for LGBTQ C-suite leaders
  • Networking receptions and community-building events

It‘s a powerful opportunity to connect with and learn from the LGBTQ business community‘s top leaders, advocates and allies. As one 2022 attendee raved, "I left inspired to be a better leader and empowered to create change. The Summit is corporate America at its most inclusive."

Local & Regional LGBTQ Business Events

6. Pride Festivals & Business Expos

Don‘t sleep on your local Pride festival as a business opportunity! Most major Pride events, such as LA Pride, NYC Pride and Capital Pride in D.C., include an LGBTQ business marketplace or expo in addition to their community celebrations. Entrepreneurial attendees can:

  • Showcase and sell products/services to LGBTQ consumers
  • Network with local LGBTQ business owners
  • Access resources from LGBTQ chambers of commerce
  • Recruit new employees or volunteers

For example, NYC Pride‘s annual PrideFest draws over 200,000 potential customers to its vibrant LGBTQ vendor marketplace in the heart of Manhattan.[^7] Check your local Pride organizations‘ websites in early 2024 for vendor and sponsorship opportunities.

7. NGLCC Affiliate Chamber Events

The NGLCC boasts a network of over 60 local LGBTQ chambers of commerce across the U.S., each of which hosts regular professional development and networking events in their region.[^8] Joining your nearest affiliate chamber can unlock access to:

  • Monthly mixers, industry roundtables & lunch-and-learns
  • LGBTQ Business Enterprise certification workshops
  • Mentorship programs and pitch competitions
  • Community volunteer events and advocacy opportunities

For example, the Golden Gate Business Association (GGBA), the Bay Area‘s LGBTQ chamber, hosts monthly Make Contact events, quarterly Power Lunches, and an LGBTQ business directory and job board. "The GGBA has been instrumental to my success as a queer Silicon Valley founder," said member Andrea Moe. "It plugged me into a thriving network of LGBTQ entrepreneurs who have become mentors, collaborators, and friends."

Online & Virtual LGBTQ Entrepreneur Events

8. StartOut‘s LGBTQ Entrepreneur Summit

In addition to their in-person programs, StartOut hosts the virtual LGBTQ Entrepreneur Summit to support queer and trans business owners across the globe. 2024‘s summit will take place over 3 days in early June (dates TBA) and include:

  • Interactive workshops on business skills and leadership
  • Panels and fireside chats with successful LGBTQ founders
  • Mentor "office hours" and peer networking sessions
  • Virtual expo hall to browse LGBTQ-owned businesses

"As a rural queer founder, StartOut‘s virtual summit has been a game-changer for me," said attendee Aidan Rodriguez. "I get to access world-class entrepreneur education and meet other LGBTQ founders without leaving my community. It‘s so empowering." Event passes are offered on a sliding scale starting at $15 to ensure accessibility.[^9]

9. Queer Women of Color Businesses Summit

The Queer Women of Color (QWOC) Business Summit is a digital conference series supporting LGBTQ women and non-binary entrepreneurs of color. Founded in 2020 by entrepreneur Nenna Joiner, the summits include panel discussions, interactive workshops, and networking sessions, all offered on a pay-what-you-can basis.[^10]

2024 summit dates are still to-be-announced, but past topics have included:

  • Securing funding as a queer founder of color
  • Self-care strategies for entrepreneurs
  • Building an authentic personal brand
  • Marketing to QWOC consumers

"The QWOC Business Summit allowed me to learn from entrepreneurs who share my lived experience in a uniquely welcoming space," said attendee Jade Mcelwee. "I came away with so many culturally relevant strategies to grow my business and build community with other queer women of color in the process."

Making the Most of LGBTQ Business Events in 2024

Feeling inspired to dive into LGBTQ entrepreneur events in 2024? Here are a few tips to make the most of your experiences:

  1. Prioritize events that align with your specific goals and needs as an entrepreneur, whether that‘s accessing funding, honing a skill, or building your network in a particular industry.

  2. Set intentions ahead of each event. What do you want to learn? Who do you want to meet? Having clear goals will help you stay focused and get the most out of every conference or summit.

  3. Put yourself out there and be open to connection. Introduce yourself to speakers and fellow attendees, ask questions, and follow up with new contacts after the event. Relationships are everything!

  4. Embrace the power of your LGBTQ identity. These events are a unique opportunity to show up fully as your authentic self and connect with others who understand your lived experiences as an LGBTQ business owner. Let your pride shine through!

No matter which 2024 events you choose to attend, know that you‘ll be in excellent company. LGBTQ entrepreneurs are a powerful force, generating $1.7 trillion for the U.S. economy and supporting countless communities.[^11] By investing in your own growth and forging connections with your peers, you‘re not only uplifting your own business, but contributing to a rising tide of "gaypreneur" success.

Here‘s to a prosperous 2024 filled with dynamic events, vibrant community, and unstoppable LGBTQ entrepreneurship!

πŸ—“οΈ Save These Dates for 2024 LGBTQ Entrepreneur Events
πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ June TBA – StartOut LGBTQ Entrepreneur Summit
πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ Aug. 13-16 – NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference, Tampa
πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ Sept. 5-8 – NLGJA National Convention, Washington D.C.
πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ Late Sept. TBA – StartOut Annual Awards, San Francisco
πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ Oct. 1-3 – Out & Equal Workplace Summit, Orlando
πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ Oct. 17-19 – ROMBA Conference 2024, Los Angeles
[^1]: Source: StartOut 2021 Impact Report
[^2]: Source: NGLCC 2023 Conference Recap
[^3]: Source: StartOut 2022 Awards Overview
[^4]: Source: ROMBA testimonials
[^5]: Source: NLGJA Convention Archives
[^6]: Source: Out & Equal 2023 Summit Prospectus
[^7]: Source: NYC Pride 2023 Event Guide
[^8]: Source: NGLCC Affiliate Chamber Directory
[^9]: Source: StartOut Entrepreneur Summit FAQ
[^10]: Source: QWOC Business Summit Press Release
[^11]: Source: NGLCC America‘s LGBT Economy Report