Micro Rainbow International launches a pioneering publication, “LGBT Entrepreneurship: case studies of socioeconomic empowerment in Rio de Janeiro between 2015-2017“. This bilingual publication (Portuguese and English) features inspiring stories from 11 LGBT entrepreneurs who participated in the Micro Rainbow Brazil Project and a summary of its main activities, partnerships and the results achieved.
The project has been running in Rio de Janeiro since 2015 and has already supported more than 160 LGBT people. 80 of them have graduated from four entrepreneurship courses and another 46 have completed free professional training in cooking, fashion and hospitality. Also, MRI has trained 23 institutions in LGBT inclusion in the labour market and monitored the individual needs of the participants, thus contributing to an increase in income and job opportunities for LGBT people both in the formal market and as entrepreneurs. The publication compiles some of these success stories and shows the existing demand and the power of initiatives committed to the socioeconomic inclusion and empowerment of LGBT people in the fight against homo and transphobia.
Lives Making History
Even though the project has achieved significant quantitative results, the aim of this publication is to tell life stories, not report numbers. Therefore, the 11 case studies have been carefully woven over almost three years of work, in a unique research context guided by respect, familiarity and cooperation. Case selection took representing diversity as the priority, qualifying and exploring biographical richness and singular experiences in the project.
Ana and Geisa, both black lesbians, demonstrate the experiences of entrepreneurship from Fábrica da Preta and Concreto Rosa as a way of affirmation and empowerment. Isa and Geisa entered predominantly male fields, information technology and construction, highlighting the challenges for women in these contexts. In the culinary world, jobs such as those of Ruan, Aline and Mell stand as successful cases of dialogue between actions of employability and entrepreneurship, with experiences in professional training and the formal labour market. Raquel and Isaque narrate striking accounts of organising personal and business finances bringing about extraordinary advances in their financial autonomy. Renan and Simon present a critical perspective on the limits of short-term entrepreneurship. Simon, Laylah and Mell share rich experiences of trans vulnerability and empowerment from different locations of speech and activism, using the power of entrepreneurship as a resource to break with the stereotypes and stigmas associated with this population. Aline and Renan faced serious challenges to the implementation of their businesses and had to reassess their objectives, seeking out technical training and formal employment as alternatives for professional achievement and financial stability.
The publication also features a preface by Barbara Aires, a renowned trans activist, parliamentary adviser and one of the first participants in the Project. The beautiful and creative design was made by one of our former students, Thales Aquino from Detso Creative Consulting. We hope that these examples of resistance and resilience can inspire other LGBTI people and allies around the world to fight for equal rights and effective conditions to guarantee them.