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Why Do We Need a Queer Business Network?

Graeme WatsonOPINION

“Why doesn’t Perth have a Queer Business Group?” I was asked at a recent social gathering.

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It’s not an unusual question, often people ask the same questions about why we don’t have a gay book club, or a swimming club or film group or many other things that we just don’t have in Perth. The simple answer is, because nobody has created it yet.

We need a business association so we can help each other in our career goals. It will allow us to share our knowledge and expertise, to tap into the business skills within our community and learn from each other.

There have been different things in the past, but they’ve run their course and shut their doors. Today in Perth if you’re a LGBTI professional and you want to expand your network of contacts, learn new skills, share knowledge – there is no queer pathway for you to take.

What kind of things do they do in other cities?

Brisbane’s Gay and Lesbian Business Network had dwindled down to just a handful of members a few years ago, but now with renewed enthusiasm the organisation is on fire with over 100 members. Last month they had former Justice Michael Kirby speak at one of their events, this month they’re hosting a dinner with Magda Szubanski.

Alongside social events, the group has a business referral service, training seminars, discounted services with external providers and networking opportunities. Membership is for people who own businesses, or work in a business. It doesn’t matter what your profession is.

The long established Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association have been around since 1981. Alongside their monthly drinks event they also hold regular breakfast sessions and a mentoring program.

Melbourne’s GLOBE organisation is setting up a series of talks with politicians as we head towards the election. They’ve recently had workshops about working in Malaysia and one on how social media could be hurting your career.

Canberra’s OUTbiz is the new kid on the block. Their first event was just a few months ago, but they got a huge turnout and are planning more events for the future.

Over in London, the Gay Business Association provides a member’s newsletter, regular events, a business directory and many other services.

So what would a Queer Business Network do in Perth? Whatever people want it to be, is the best answer at this stage.

We’ve organised a social function this Thursday for anyone who’d like to be involved in such an organisation. Whether you’d like to help organise events, or just attend.

Whether you’ve got a business of your own, or work hard in someone else’s, this is for you. If you have a profession – whether it is being a banker, butcher baker or business systems analyst – this is a group for you.

Come down and let us know what you’d like Western Australia’s Queer Business Network to be.

Thursday June 27, 6pm
The Butterworth Bar and Kitchen
Ground Floor, Exchange Plaza
Entry off Sherwood Court, off St George’s Terrace.
Please RSVP on Facebook or via email for catering purposes

For any RSVPs, questions or queries please contact:
queerbusinessnetwork@gmail.com

Or telephone, Graeme Watson 0405 549 811 OR Ryan Boldison 0403 363 605

 

Declaration: Graeme Watson is the editor of OUTinPerth, this new organisation is proposed as a non-profit organisation independent of this publication. Graeme is involved in a number of non-profit organisations including Pride WA, The Blue Room, the Film and Television Institute WA, and RTRFM 92.1. He is a former chair of WAninmate, the Western Australian Animation Industry Association. Ryan Boldison is a Business Development Manager at OUTinPerth. 

Update: 16-09-2014 After the initial meetings it was decided that to keep things simpler this project would be managed by OUTinPerth magazine and not be set up as a separate entity. 

Update: 07-01-16 After two years of successful events OUTinPerth has decided to retire the QBN in 2016. 

 

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