Micro Rainbow International Foundation carried out its first LGBTQI Acceleration Programme in Brazil, in partnership with Meta and Aliança Nacional LGBTI+, between September 2021 and April 2022. The programme was aimed at supporting LGBTQI entrepreneurs in the development and expansion of their small businesses and was divided into 5 cycles:
Registration and selection
Applications were received through the programme’s landing page, which was advertised throughout the country for a month as part of Meta’s Pride campaign. There were 518 applicants of different gender identities, sexual orientations, races and territorial locations. Preference was given to businesses with social impacts as well as businesses from vulnerable populations: trans, black and indigenous people, in addition to people with disabilities, traditional populations, refugees and displaced persons, as well as former detainees. A total of 200 entrepreneurs were selected, according to sexual identities/orientations, colour/race and regions as per the below:
- Number of accelerated businesses: 45
- Number of successful cases: 20
- Percentage of respondents reporting improvements in marketing their business: 68%
- Percentage of participants who reported improvements in the financial organization of their business: 64%
- Percentage of participants who reported improvements in the management of their business: 72%
- Percentage of participants who reported improvements in the use of Facebook and/or Instagram for their business: 88%
- Percentage of participants reporting increased sales: 56%
Positive impacts beyond their businesses
Most of our assessment questions were evaluated very positively by the participants, who pointed out significant improvements in their businesses and the use of Meta platforms and their resources. In addition, not only did the programme allow them to improve their entrepreneurial skills, but also had positive impacts on their self-esteem and sense of pride. The most important impacts are listed as follows:
- Recognition of an entrepreneurial identity
- Motivation to prioritise and invest in their business
- Awareness of fragile entrepreneurial skills that need to be developed
- More complete and deeper perception of their business
- Greater financial and administrative organization of their business
- Establishment of partnerships and networks among participants
- Reduced isolation and increased support from the LGBTQI community
- Increased self-esteem and sense of pride
Challenges and opportunities
Our biggest challenge was to keep participants engaged throughout the cycles and avoid drop-outs, which was inevitable as only 25% concluded the programme. We believe the length of the programme and great number of activities may have made it difficult for many entrepreneurs to participate actively, in addition to other personal reasons. Moreover, we thought that recording activities would allow participants to watch them in different times and motivate them to conclude the programme, but that was not the case. Our experience has shown that, in addition to being synchronous, activities must be as customised as possible, which requires an integrated engagement between participants, instructors and staff.
This programme was aimed at supporting a specific profile of entrepreneurs who already had a business in progress and with potential to grow. Nevertheless, we received participants with diverse backgrounds and business structures, and consequently different needs. Entrepreneurs who are still in the business development stage need to improve their business plans, obtain technical knowledge, and sometimes access to credit. Entrepreneurs who already have a business in progress need support to identify problems and barriers as well as instructions on how to overcome them. For entrepreneurs already in the process of growth, personalised support is needed so that they can dedicate themselves to specific areas they need to improve.
The lessons learnt in this first acceleration programme will help us adjust our methodology and improve our strategies to continue supporting LGBTQI entrepreneurs in Brazil in the expansion and acceleration of their small businesses.
Applications for our next programme, also in partnership with Meta and Aliança Nacional LGBTI+, are now open for registration until 23/07/2022.