Creating more opportunities for Filipino queer entrepreneurs

Current economic empowerment interventions for Filipino lesbian, gay, transgender, and queer (LGBT) are not enough to overcome all obstacles facing queer entrepreneurs.

In a study conducted by APCOM, many LGBT (LGBT) participants answered that the range of economic opportunities available for LGBT individuals is being limited by persistent heteronormative and cissexist conditions.

To help address this opportunity gap, Queer Safe Spaces (QSS), through its EMPOWER Program is working to provide business and financial management training on existing and aspiring micro-entrepreneurs in order to equip them with knowledge and skills they will need in order to legitimize and expand their small businesses.

In a previous interview with Manila Bulletin, Roanne Carreon, co-founder of QSS, said LGBT individuals in the business sector are still being discriminated in terms of employment.

"One of our flagship programs, called EMPOWER Program is one of our socio-economic programs for queer people to better help them with their livelihood and business plans," Carreon, also a gender rights advocate, shared.

QSS offers grants and mentorships for queer micro-entrepreneurs as well as for LGBT-owned startup businesses. To date, the organization is offering financial aid to five queer business owners and has trained over a hundred micro-entrepreneurs and aspiring micro-entrepreneurs.

Carreon believes that the growth of micro-enterprises will "help reduce economic inequality, allow the entry of new niches and special to the LGBT community" as well as create job opportunities and encourage budding entrepreneurs.

QSS is among the 131 participants of the Facebook Community Accelerator Program, an eight-month-long program that will provide training, mentorship, and funding for selected community leaders of Facebook groups.

READ MORE: Creating safe spaces for LGBT youth