Major League Baseball has announced a new partnership with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce that will further open the doors to LGBT-owned companies seeking to do business with Major League Baseball teams. MLB vice-president Billy Bean talked to Fortune:

"It's important to me because I think it allows our community to get more coverage and exposure on the programs that [business owners are] working very, very hard to expand."

"The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is such a well-respected organization," Bean added, "and for them to feel that what they see in baseball is something they would want to align with, it's a compliment for the work that we're doing."

A small business must meet certain criteria to be eligible for NGLCC certification and, thus, be able to work with the MLB in the new partnership. "We work with over a third of the Fortune 500 right now," Nelson told Fortune. "A business that is 51% owned, operated, and controlled by an LGBT person or persons, apply for certification at" The documentation then goes before a certification committee.

LGBT-owned businesses have already been a part of Major League Baseball’s Diversity Business Summit, which is designed to bring diverse job-seekers and business owners into the MLB fold. This year’s Diversity Business Summit is being held in Phoenix this week in conjunction with the Arizona Diamondbacks. GLAAD and the Sports Equality Foundation have worked with Bean to ensure young applicants have the resources to travel to the event for interviews.