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    GGBA: Ready to Kick that Field Goal!

    right2By JP Leddy

    The Golden Gate Business Association (GGBA), the Nation’s first LGBT Chamber of Commerce, is reporting that 77 Certified LGBT-owned businesses registered for the National Football League’s (NFL) Business Connect Program. These businesses have registered to actively compete for contracts relating to the upcoming Super Bowl 50 to be played on Sunday, February 7, 2016, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

    The GGBA made history in November 2014, when San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced that LGBT-owned businesses would be included in the Super Bowl 50’s Business Connect program, whose goal is to increase opportunities for minority, women, disabled veteran and LGBT-owned business enterprises to conduct Super Bowl business, and to support business growth through networking events and educational programs.

    “The inclusion of LGBT-owned businesses to the NFL’s Business Connect Program was important on the local, national and international level, and I am proud that the GGBA was the organization that took this opportunity over the goal line,” stated GGBA Vice President Paul Pendergast. “Locally, our members have had the chance to actively compete with other businesses to win contracts. On the national level, we have created a new playing field for LGBT businesses, and we’ve already been in discussion with Houston’s Planning Committee, which is next year’s Super Bowl Destination City, to keep this level of inclusion moving forward. With the Super Bowl being a world-class event—we are showcasing to the world that LGBT-owned businesses are a critical part of the economic fabric in our communities.”

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    Photographer Christopher Dydyk was the first member of the GGBA to receive business under the program. “I worked with the GGBA on how to best communicate my company’s services, they helped me meet the right people who were the decision makers at the NFL/Super Bowl 50 Planning Committee,” he said. “I’ve had a number of key assignments under our contract which now includes a two-week stint shooting photos throughout the upcoming events related to the Super Bowl. For a photographer this is huge,” he added.

    right5Dydyk is just one of the many companies that been successful within the Super Bowl Opportunities Program. Other LGBT-owned companies who have benefitted from this landmark interaction include: Got Light, David Perry Public Relations, BluePrint Studios, Outsmart Office Solutions, Ellaprint, JJardine Catering, Pendergast Consulting Group and Leftwich Events.

    Visitors to Super Bowl 50 will see first-hand the commitment San Francisco and the Super Bowl 50 Planning Committee have made to LGBT businesses in a very visible way when SFMTA MUNI buses begin to showcase an advertising campaign encouraging everyone to visit the Castro during the week-long series of events surround the Big Game. GGBA, working with the Castro Merchants, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development and SFMTA, will unveil this bus ad campaign in the coming days that will, in part, address the closure of the historic F-Market Line during the time leading up to and during Super Bowl City as it takes shape at the foot of Market Street.

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    Dydyk encourages fellow business owners to become certified as LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBE) through the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (www.nglcc.org), with assistance from the GGBA. Super Bowl 50 is just one of many amazing opportunities for LGBTBE’s to find contracts with large organizations.

    GGBA’s achievement with the NFL has been noticed by many. “The intentional inclusion of certified LGBT Business Enterprises in the Super Bowl 50 Business Connect program set the tone for all host cities. An integral part of being a Super Bowl host city is ensuring that the business opportunities are open to all. Sporting events of this scale need all kinds of local businesses to be successful and the diversity of those business owners must reflect the diversity of the host cities and of our nation,” said Justin Nelson, President & Co-Founder, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

    Business Connect is a program of the NFL and is a signature initiative of the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee. Read more at: www.sfsuperbowl.com/business-connect

    JP Leddy is the President of the Golden Gate Business Association.