Pride month often means a lot of rainbow capitalism, but here at Pocketed, we want to share the real stories of our users with diverse representation.
Prompta, a Toronto-based change management company, was Canada’s first certified diverse consulting firm recognized by the CGLCC. During our recent conversation with Prompta’s founder and owner, Tim Morton, we learned that they actually lost several clients after the business got this certification in 2016.
“They just wanted to hire a consulting company, they didn’t necessarily want to hire a consulting company that was claiming to be owned by a member of the LGBTQ2+ community,” said Morton. “The conversation was, ‘oh, are we now the gay company?’”
2016 wasn’t very long ago, and although improvements have been made to develop a more inclusive business landscape since then, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.
At the time of this certification, Morton’s team was engaged in many internal conversations evaluating what a diverse organization should look like. Morton recalled a specific conversation with one of his more senior team members who identified as a straight white male who expressed concern that he wasn’t the ideal picture of diversity. But Morton responded by telling his colleague that as long as he was actively creating a safe, inclusive environment for other team members and clients, he was an ally who was an important leader for a diverse space.
After getting their certification, Morton’s team was preparing a pitch to bid on a client project in partnership with another company and that company told him to remove the logo that said Prompta was LGBTQIA2+ certified by the CGLCC. Morton refused and, in the end, won the work. Staying true to their organization’s values paid off.
When Morton signed up for Pocketed, he was delighted to discover that it highlighted opportunities Prompta would have never known about without the platform. Pocketed has helped the company stay focused while searching for grants since it eliminates the extra time and energy used searching for and applying to grants that they aren’t eligible for.
Still, he wishes the grant space was equally as accessible to small, diverse businesses as it is to multinational businesses. His company is resource-strapped making the grant search and application process unrealistic for their internal capacities. That’s why Pocketed helped Prompta cut down the number of needed resources so they can focus on growing their business while easily securing new funding!
“From an equity perspective, it’d be nice if they would level the playing field so it was a little easier for us to either apply or have some awareness,” he said.
Morton said the most important thing for people to do for small businesses and LGBTQIA2+-owned startups is to share the word that they exist.
He said people shouldn’t be fearful of doing work with businesses owned by members of the LGBTQIA2+ community.
“We’re never going to have diverse supply chains if we’re not willing to take a risk,” said Morton.
“If we always go with the trusted and true, … the same players, we’re not going to know about these other talented companies that are out there.”