Canadian and American homosexual village companies battle amid pandemic: Examine – Victoria Information
A new study found that businesses in North America’s gay villages have been harder hit by the COVID-19 pandemic than those belonging to other members of the LGBTQ2S + community.
The study, commissioned by e-commerce platform company Lightspeed and conducted by Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, looked at the impact of the pandemic on businesses more than 51 percent owned by members of the LGBTQ2S + community – as in the study – in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.
Most of the businesses in the villages fell into the retail, dining and entertainment categories, which, according to Statistics Canada, have been hardest hit over the past year and a half. Those who didn’t fall into these categories were more likely not to work in gay villages, said Dana Brown of Sprott School.
Although most of the businesses surveyed were located outside of gay villages, the study found they were concerned about the longevity of businesses in the villages as they dealt with closings, gentrification and high rents.
Dax Dasilva, CEO of Lightspeed, said in an interview the reasons for producing the report were personal as his business started 16 years ago in the gay village of Montreal. Collecting data on LGBTQ2S + business leaders is the first step in improving opportunities for members of the community, he added.
“By understanding some of these local business communities, I believe we can be a better advocate for them and … also be a better provider of solutions,” said Dasilva.
Overall, 60 percent of those surveyed said that the pandemic had a negative impact on their business operations. The study also found that 20 percent of companies surveyed said they had laid off employees since the pandemic began.
Despite the challenges, Brown said during an interview, respondents showed some level of resilience.
She also said the research focused not only on how businesses fared during the pandemic, but also on the best ways to use the LGBTQ2S + business landscape to build stronger communities.
“My colleagues believe that there is the potential for fantastic economic effects when we support these leaders,” said Brown. “One of the things we see in the study, and we know from what we know about LGBTQ businesses, that there are many businesses run by LGBT leaders and they thrive and they do well and the more , the better.”
Because of this, Brown said the next steps in supporting LGBTQ2S + business leaders should include government policies to ensure the community is empowered to bring more talent and innovation into countries’ economies.
Upon completion of the study, Dasilva said the LGBTQ2S + business community may be better equipped to resume operations as COVID-19 restrictions in the US and Canada are gradually eased.
“There is this great desire to support local communities and I think this is a great base from which to rebuild and improve some of these business communities,” he said.
This story was produced with financial support from Facebook and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.
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