Jul 13, 2021
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Gay villages in North America adversely impacted by Covid pandemic: Lightspeed

Jul 13, 2021

Lightspeed highlighted on Monday the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic on LGBTQ+ businesses and in particular on businesses in North America's gay villages, via a new study. 

Gay villages in North America impacted by pandemic: Lightspeed study. - Facebook: Lightspeed

The aim of the study, commissioned by Carleton University's Sprott School of Business along with the support from Canada's LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC), is to gather actual data to support some of the assumptions made about the true impacts of Covid-19 on this community. 

According to qualitative data gathered from the study, gay villages saw a disproportionate amount of closures, boarded up storefronts and high rents compared to the rest of the LGBTQ+-led business community.

The types of businesses located in the villages are mostly retail, restaurants, bars and entertainment, which, according to Statistics Canada, were hardest hit during the pandemic. The study also revealed that Canada is lagging behind the U.S. in recognizing LGBTQ+ businesses for preferential spending, procurement and relief funds.

As of January 2021, New York City recognized LGBTQ-owned companies as minority-owned businesses, making them eligible for billions in city contracts, as well as access to consulting, mentorship, educational programs and other resources. Meanwhile, in Canada, the federal government lags behind in recognition of the LGBTQ+ business community within the same categorization, which prevents them from benefiting from government funds.

"Lightspeed was founded in 2005, in Montreal's gay village and its original members were all part of the LGBTQ+ community. The ethos of our business has always been about diversity and inclusion from the very start, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that this research was particularly important to us," said Dax Dasilva, founder and CEO of Lightspeed. 

"Both in the U.S. and in Canada, majority-owned LGBTQ+ businesses generate trillions of dollars of contributions to the total GDP. Given their importance and influence on our economies, we wanted to understand exactly how the pandemic has affected this community and start a conversation with businesses and chambers of commerce, to help us build even better tools for resiliency."

The exploratory study focused on businesses in six North American cities: Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. The study consisted of both a survey and interviews. 

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