EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A roundtable discussion about access and upward mobility for LGBTQ+ business leaders in Massachusetts will take place on Wednesday.

According to a news release sent to 22News from Commonwealth Corporation, they partnered with the Chamber of Commerce and other state and local organizations to host a discussion called #LeadTheChange.

#LeadTheChange will take place at the MA LGBT Chamber of Commerce on Pleasant Street in Easthampton from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration is needed if interested.

This event convenes business owners to discuss information related to growth, workforce development, and access to state funding. Commonwealth Corporation was established under the Executive Office of Labor and Workplace Development. It is a quasi-public agency that fosters workforce equity in Massachusetts by delivering innovative and collaborative professional development solutions that helps diverse communities and employers succeed.

Guest speakers for this event include Grace Moreno, Executive Director, of Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Inc.; Xiomara Albán DeLobato, Chief of Staff, WesternMass Economic Development Council; Isa Wang, Founder of Gamut Pins and Co-Founder of The Bower Studio; and Ron Molina-Brantley, Vice President, Relationship Manager, Team Leader at Berkshire Bank.

“The goal of these events is to highlight the importance of minority-owned businesses to our overall economy, because representation matters,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta. “When we share information and engage each other in conversations about equity and how to overcome challenges as a community, we all benefit. Through these roundtables, we hope to provide access to tools that will lead to business growth, increase diversity in workforce development, and encourage employers to apply for state funding through grants.” 

“The minority-owned business sector plays a critical role in reducing the unemployment rate nationally,” said Christine Abrams, President & CEO of Commonwealth Corporation. “However, language and cultural barriers, technology gaps, and the lack of existing credit lines make it challenging for minority entrepreneurs to get the help and funds they need to keep their doors open and staff on payroll–and the situation is only getting worse. Job creation, innovation, economic parity, and productivity in the country will suffer with the loss of Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs). As a result, CommCorp and our local partners are dedicated to aggressively addressing the constraints in place to ensure the short-term survival and long-term success of MBEs.”  

These events convene business and community leaders to engage with a panel of experts sharing information related to business growth, workforce development, and access to state funding. After the panel, participants engage in a presentation of existing resources and a roundtable discussion on the barriers in place for minority communities and how both event participants and partners can help structurally and systemically remove them.