Pride Month Spotlight: StartOut Mentorship Program to Support LGBTQ Entrepreneurs

Sarah Burgaud, Director of Programs at StartOut
June 26th, 2018
Posted In: Awareness

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MENTOR is shining a light on LGBTQ mentoring this Pride month.  We have asked prominent and impactful LGBTQ serving organizations to share their experiences about the communities they serve and the methods they use to reach and teach LGBTQ mentees.

Despite our celebration of Pride month, all year long we are reminded of the discrimination the LGBTQ community often faces.  Although LGBTQ advocates have seen big gains in recent years, recent state-level initiatives against LGBTQ rights have shown just how fragile these gains can be. In this context, StartOut’s mission is more important than ever.

StartOut connects and educates LGBTQ entrepreneurs in order to empower great leaders and businesses. The ultimate goal is to create jobs and prosperity for LGBTQ individuals and for the local communities in which they do business.

As a nonprofit organization, StartOut provides resources to LGBTQ entrepreneurs so they can thrive and succeed. StartOut supports entrepreneurs all over the US and beyond. Their community gathers 15,000+ individuals from 50+ countries. The mentorship program is an invaluable part of their work. They are able to connect LGBTQ entrepreneurs to experienced professionals, investors, and founders.

The mentorship program has been invaluable since Joel and I started working together. He provides amazing insight and helps me address both immediate issues and future concerns. Recently we’ve been working on finding investors and marketing as our website for the Flag Ship development is going live in the coming weeks! He has also been a great shoulder for those days where I feel like I’m in the weeds.” – Geoffrey Peters, Founder @Petrichor Development

“StartOut is an environment where LGBTQ entrepreneurs are supported by mentors to grow their businesses and to thrive. I am fortunate to have regular meetings with Peter, which has been a tremendous opportunity to learn from an experienced entrepreneur about how to penetrate a market and grow.”- Rachel Weinstein, Founder @Mixalot

StartOut mentors see the experience as a two-way relationship. For most of them, mentoring is not just the right thing to do; it has strategic benefits and a strong impact on leadership skills.

I enjoy supporting younger LGBTQ people. It takes nothing other than time and a willingness to listen and share experiences and advice. If you have wisdom and experience, and you wish that when you were younger, someone had been able to give you a lift up and also with an LGBTQ lens on your decisions, then this is your opportunity to give that to someone “coming up” as it were.” – Brett Wayn, StartOut mentor

“The best part is being able to connect with and help an LGBTQ entrepreneur in Florida, a state known for its bias against our community. You get back so much more than you give.” – Chris Sinton, StartOut mentor

If you feel like supporting the LGBTQ community for Pride, volunteer your time and expertise as a mentor with StartOut. Join an amazing community of LGBTQ professionals!


Sarah is the Director of Programs at StartOut, a non-profit organization aimed at creating jobs and prosperity for LGBTQ individuals and for the local communities in which they do business, and to be recognized and respected for our contributions.

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