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Why should startups be concerned about legislation focused on LGBTQ+ issues?

This letter was sent to The Startup Ladies mailing list on June 1, 2022.

Happy PRIDE, Friends!

This newsletter is 100% dedicated to all of our LGBTQ+ founders, funders, executives, and allies in The Startup Ladies community. We love you! While working to restructure systems to move more money into the hands of women founders, I've been learning how legislation can positively and negatively affect startups in growth mode. Issues once ignored, now have my full attention. For example, last week, Indiana legislators voted to overturn House Bill 1041 that Indiana Governor, Eric Holcomb had previously vetoed. In short, this bill prohibits transgender girls from playing sports. It's a sexist and discriminatory bill - probably the reasons the Governor vetoed it in the first place.

So why should the business community be concerned about this?

Almost every time a founder raises a round of funding, she uses the money to hire staff. I’m sorry to say that more often than not, you have to look outside of Indiana for professionals with certain skill sets. Often these folks are highly educated, very experienced, and well-connected to people who can help grow the business.

Statistics (not opinions) have proven the following: the more educated you are - the more likely you are to take progressive positions on social issues.

So, when a founder is searching for a pool of highly educated, experienced, and networked individuals - the majority of candidates will likely be socially progressive.

You may be doing an awesome job creating a psychologically safe and welcoming environment for every type of human at your company. However, Indiana legislators may be creating a state-wide environment that repels LGBTQ+ professionals and executives with LGBTQ+ children because they don’t feel safe living here.

If we want the best and brightest to live in Indiana and some them are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender - why are we making laws that take their rights away? Would you want to live in a state that takes your or your children’s rights away?

As a conscientious capitalist, I don’t think creating legislation that repels some of the smartest people in the world is good for our economy. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community who isn’t from Indiana, I deeply understand the considerable pause Indiana gives to those contemplating a move here.

If you are a business owner and/or leader, it may be time for you to start paying closer attention to LGBTQ+ issues and take positive action that supports your current and future LGBTQ+ employees. I'm always open for an iced tea on a patio if you would like to discuss how you can get more involved.

On Saturday, June 11, The Startup Ladies will march in the Indy PRIDE parade. We are marching as an expression of our love and support of our LGBTQ+ members, future members, and anticipated Hoosiers. I hope you will join us.

Cheers to all LGBTQ+ founders, funders, and allies!

Kristen Cooper, CEO & Founder, The Startup Ladies

P.S. - Inc. Magazine published that rendering above of The Startup Ladies at the Indy Pride Parade back in 2019 -- last time we were all able to march together.


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