Minority and Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) businesspersons are carving out for themselves leadership roles in the world of business as entrepreneurs and CEO’s. As they are experiencing much success, and are sought after to help provide unique and necessary perspectives regarding best practices in the areas of inclusion, diversity and strategic planning; they are yet underrepresented in mainstream media and in the business community. This qualitative study explores the enabling and inhibiting factors that select African American Gay Male Entrepreneurs (AAGME) experience throughout their career and ascent into entrepreneurship. The qualitative research includes interviews from ten African American Gay Males, who live in the metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia area and have owned/operated their organizations for three or more years. The accounts obtained of the AAGME are the primary data reviewed and reported. Qualitative research methods are used to analyze the data, and the findings are presented in narrative format. The findings are consistent with the literature review and examined elements of enabling and inhibiting factors experienced by other LGBT professionals. The findings suggest that African American gay men considering starting their own organizations may benefit from utilizing a collaborative leadership approach, inclusive decision-making practices, personal and professional flexibility, and expressing humility and authenticity. AAGME aspiring to begin their own enterprises may also benefit from mentorship from an established LGBT businessperson and/or living in, or establishing their company in a geography that is supportive of LGBT persons and conducive to holistic identity expression.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; African American gay men -- Georgia -- Atlanta -- Employment; Entrepreneurship; Small business -- Management

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

McManus, John F.;