LGBTQ+ Biz Bootcamp

The LGBTQ+ Biz Boot Camp was founded by the LGBT Business Foundation of Illinois in 2019 to assist LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with launching and growing sustainable businesses that will positively impact our local communities. The Boot Camp is designed for businesses with at least one-year of hands-on experience in operating their business, but all interested applicants are encouraged to apply. 

Facilitated by Kristina Wynne of The Wynners Club, the eight-week cohort program will provide participants with broad practical skills and a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge using skills such as critical thinking, communication, and collaboration to help them further develop and define their entrepreneurial journey. Participants will leave the program with a business plan and business pitch deck, while also accessing quality networking through mentorship and guest speakers. 

In addition to leaving the program with a prepared business plan and pitch deck, students will have the chance to compete for a chance to win a valued prize worth more than $1,770.

Program Schedule 

Week 1: Awareness & Assessment of your Business
Week 3: Executive Summary & Company Description
Week 3: Mission & Vision Statements
Week 4: Marketing, all day…
Week 5: Operations & Management Plans
Week 6: Product/Service Description and Intellectual Property
Week 7: Financial Plan
Week 8: Pitch Deck Creation!

2019 Cohort Success

Six months after completion of the LGBTQ+ Biz Boot Camp, the 2019 Cohort reported significant progress in the growth and investment of their business:

  • 80% responded they are updating or finalizing drafts of their business plan
  • 80% responded that they have grown more confident in sales
  • 60% have increased their income through sales
  • 60% have opened up a business banking account
  • 60% are now registered as a legal business entity

Participant and Program Requirements

  • Participants must be an out LGBTQ+ individual who is comfortable having their photo, names, and businesses printed in news, social media, etc. 
  • All selected students are required to submit a business plan in order to participate in the Pitch Competition.
  • Participants must complete all requested surveys and engage in marketing requests when needed to promote the Boot Camp.
  • Participants cannot miss any workshops to be eligible for the First Place Pitch Prize .
  • Participants will be required to speak with their assigned mentor at least twice –  once during the first four weeks, and once during the second four weeks. More participation is welcomed and encouraged.

Are you ready to take your business to the next level?


  • 8/30/2021: Open House More information and registration
  • 9/8/2021: Application deadline
  • 9/15–17/2021: Interviews
  • 9/22/2021: Acceptance notification
  • 10/2–11/20/2021: Fall 2021 Business Boot Camp
  • 11/30–12/1/2021: Pitch Competition

Application Checklist

  • Complete the application
  • Submit financial document 
  • Complete Interview (If Invited)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of the program? There is no cost to participate in the program. Participants are required to provide their own transportation to and from each class. Students will be provided with lunch and materials for the boot camp.

Who are the best candidates for this program? The program is best suited for applicants who have moved past the “idea” phase. You have likely tested the market with your product or services, but still need to develop a business plan, social media strategy, and plans for accessing capital. The business must be 51% or more LGBTQ+ owned, and only a business owner can participate in the workshop. 

What happens if I miss a class? Participants are encouraged and expected to attend all sessions. Once one session is missed, the participant waives their eligibility to compete for the First Place Pitch Prize. They will still be expected to pitch and submit a business plan. For missed sessions, participants are encouraged to work with their cohort and the facilitator to complete any assignments. 

Where will classes be held? The class will be held via Zoom, or at the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois. The office is located inside the Fifth-Third building on the second floor. The Chamber is located at:

3179 N. Clark Street
2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60657