PRAGUE, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) — The third edition of the Prague Pride Business Forum, attracting an international panel of business people, has drew much concerns, local media said on Friday.
The forum on Thursday discussed diversity in business, niche markets and the so-called “pink dollar,” which describes the purchasing power of the community of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender(LGBT).
Speakers came from a range of countries, including the United States, Britain, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and others, and the forum was hosted by an Australian magazine editor living in New York. There was a strong presence from businesses, including the main sponsor of Prague Pride, Clearstream, IBM and Vodafone Czech Republic.
The first group of speakers focused on corporate responsibility and how to maintain a safe and diverse workplace. Armin Borries, the openly-gay CEO of Clearstream Operations Czech Republic focused on the importance of tolerance, openness and fairness, but also the right to privacy. According to him, the main focus should be on work; if a worker is doing his or her job correctly, nothing else should come into consideration.
The IT giant IBM had a strong presence at the forum, being one of the main sponsors of the forum and also a sponsor of Prague Pride. Several of the speakers at the forum were from IBM, emphasizing the leaps and bounds IBM has made as one of the companies at the forefront of the diversity movement.
The host, Merryn Johns, stressed that the world is moving beyond thinking of corporate responsibility as a cost, but rather where emphasis on diversity can be used as a way of enhancing profit. There is still a lot of room for improvement in the Czech Republic, as the vast majority of the companies represented at the forum where international companies.
The second half of the forum focused on how to gain market share by focusing on niche markets, in this case the LGBT community. The speakers referred to research showing that the LGBT community is rich and has a high disposable income, referring consistently to “DINKs”, or Dual Income No Kids, as well as the community’s economic resiliency. This makes the LGBT community particularly attractive in times of recession.
So far there aren’t many local companies showing their interest in the LGBT community, but experts hope that will improve in the future.