A nonprofit organisation is hoping to highlight LGBT entrepreneurial success stories in order to encourage more to aim high in the business world.

The founders of StartOut want to shatter the “glass closet” in the business world and has launched a competition to highlight success stories.

“Entrepreneurs should never have to choose between the closet and their careers.”

The ‘#OutEntrepreneur’ video competition asks LGBT entrepreneurs to share their success story in a two-minute-or-less video.

StartOut’s competition hopes to “inspire others in their quest to start successful businesses. Through the hashtags #OutEntrepreneur and #StartOut, the contest aims to increase public visibility and awareness of LGBT business leaders” across the US.

Up to 10 finalists will be chosen by a panel of judges after the end of March and voting for no more than three winners will be open to StartOut’s entire membership base. Winners will receive a complimentary StartOut membership and expert consultation for their business.

In the words of Executive Director Andres Wydler: “Our work is not done until every single LGBT entrepreneur can unleash their potential, for all of society’s benefit!”

StarOut wants to help “aspiring entrepreneurs start new companies, supporting current entrepreneurs to grow and expand their businesses, and engaging successful entrepreneurs to support and mentor others throughout the community, StartOut amplifies the stories of the next generation of LGBT business leaders.”

The organisation has chapters across the US in San Francisco, New York, Boston, Austin, Chicago and LA, with more on the way.

Founded in 2009, StartOut has a growing network of 15,000 entrepreneurs and business leaders across the US.

The nonprofit is founded on the idea that “business thrives on competition, and StartOut is working for a climate where no one gets to win because a community has one hand tied behind its back.”

Chris Sinton, Board Member of StartOut and long-time Silicon Valley/San Francisco executive and philanthropist, said of the role tech entrepreneurs play in inspiring others nationally: “Tech entrepreneurs tend to break established systems and new ground. StartOut itself grew from tech oriented co-founders and now reaches beyond tech, spreading ideas of equality in entrepreneurship across industries.”

Jason Leon of Evolve, who has already submitted a video, said: “I look at being an LGBT entrepreneur as one of the greatest sources of strength. It has
taught me to trust myself, to live into my authenticity. I feel it’s given me a different way of seeing the world.”

Serafina & Jen of Hip Chick Farms added: “When we decided to start our business, the most important thing to us was transparency. We wanted to connect the dots for people so they know where the food is coming from. We also want people to know who we are as a family. We are a family business, and that means two moms and one adorable little chick! We’re #out, we’re proud, and super happy to be a part of StartOut.”

Check out a video from StartOut’s Vimeo page below:

Welcome to StartOut — 2015 Edition from StartOut on Vimeo.