New Jersey becomes first state to have certified LGBTQ+-owned businesses

The certification is something organization leaders with the New Jersey Pride Chamber of Commerce have been working toward for more than six years.

Amanda Eustice

Jun 4, 2024, 10:03 PM

Updated 8 days ago

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Something tasty is always being served inside the kitchen at Cavany Foods on Grand Street in Jersey City. Owner and chef Alejandro Fummayor says he has a passion for cooking.
"When I'm cooking it's like another level. You forget everything. Stress is out," Fummayor said.
And now, with a new certification under his business belt, he's hoping more people will be able to enjoy his food. His restaurant is the first business in the state to become certified as an LGBTQ+-owned business. The certification enables LGBTQ+-owned businesses to have greater funding opportunities, such as state contracts and grants.
"It's more about funding. It's more about exposure and it’s more about - for me - it's more about encouraging another LGBT owners that want to be low profile. Like, why we have a nice business, we have a nice opportunity," said Fummayor.
According to state officials, New Jersey is now the first state in the nation to have a state-backed certification for LGBTQ+-owned businesses. The certification is something organization leaders with the New Jersey Pride Chamber of Commerce have been working toward for more than six years.
There was an executive order prior to it becoming law. The proposed law became a reality on May 2. Both sides of the aisle voted in favor of the legislation.
"Exposure, visibility, being counted. So, it really provides us the opportunity for additional economic growth in our business not just with the state of New Jersey, but even with the private sector," said business owner Kathleen Waters and vice president of the New Jersey Pride Chamber of Commerce.
The organization believes this will open more opportunities for LGBTQ+ businesses in the state or those looking to move there.
"We've gotten a lot of steps up in LGBT rights over the last 10-15 years and I think this is a culmination of it on the economic side," said John Traier, the treasurer for the New Jersey Pride Chamber of Commerce.
"Future generations will build, grow on it, you know? Whether it be expanding more on financial opportunities, grants, loans, venture capital coming to New Jersey for LGBT. These are all possibilities," said Gus Penaranda, the executive director for the New Jersey Pride Chamber of Commerce.
More than 150 businesses in the state have become LGBTQ+ owned business certified.
More information can be found HERE.


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