New social enterprise Certified Proud aims to improve day-to-day lives of LGBT+ customers and staff throughout businesses in Ireland

With businesses joining Certified Proud, LGBT+ staff and customers will be able to feel secure in knowing they are in a safe and inclusive environment.

a masculine presenting person and a feminine presenting person stand holding a balloon garland with the certified proud logo in the centre
Image: @certifiedproud

A newly launched organisation, Certified Proud, are paving the way towards an inclusive experience for LGBT+ people across multiple sectors in Ireland. 

Certified Proud, an accreditation membership body, was co-founded by Liam Redmond and Eve Kerton. Their aim will be to ensure the safety and comfort of LGBT+ staff and customers throughout businesses in Ireland. 

Speaking about the inspiration behind Certified Proud, Redmond detailed that “a couple of years ago, I found out I had potentially contracted HIV. I went to a doctor, and when he found out I would have gotten the virus from a man, he threw me out of his office. It was then when I realised that businesses need to be proactive in their support of, and visibility towards, the LGBTQ+ community. I don’t want anyone else to feel that way, plus – it makes perfect business sense!”

By uniting with this new organisation, businesses will pay a joining fee and sign an agreement to promote the Certified Proud Principles into their company culture year-round. This includes guidelines on how to create an inclusive environment for employees and customers as well as training and networking opportunities.

On the Certified Proud website, they state, “We heard countless stories from people who have experienced difficulties in public and in work because of their particular orientation or identity. From GPs refusing treatment to hotels or guesthouses only offering twin beds to same-sex couples instead of doubles, prejudice remains a real fear for LGBTQ+ people in even the most mundane activities.

“So, this is where we step in. If an organisation is listed as a member of Certified Proud, you will know that you are amongst friends even before you have stepped through the door,” it further reads. 

There are seven Certified Proud Principles outlined on the organisation’s website. It details respect, equality, inclusivity, advocacy, commitment, safety, and visibility. 

40% of the membership fee will also be donated to charities and projects seeking to improve the lives of LGBT+ people in Ireland. Both founders expressed a keen interest in giving back to the community at the core of this social enterprise. 

Over on Certified Proud’s Instagram page, they shared, “We may be a small business but we have a big goal, and we couldn’t be more grateful for every share, kind message and the support you have shown us.”

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