Chamber receives $50K grant


One mission to develop minority businesses in Grand Rapids is $50,000 richer.

The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce recently announced it has received a $50,000 grant from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s Fund for Community Good. The grant will go toward supporting “the design and development of methods to grow sizable minority businesses,” according to a press release.

“The long-term success of minority businesses is key to a vibrant and sustainable economy in West Michigan,” said Rick Baker, GRACC’s president and CEO.

“In order to strengthen and expand the minority entrepreneurial community, we need to find and develop ways to remove growth barriers and foster opportunities for greater economic inclusion. This grant from the Community Foundation will launch us in the right direction toward accomplishing that aim,” he said.

It’s no secret diversity is lacking in Grand Rapids. Earlier this year, Forbes ranked Grand Rapids as the second worst city in America economically for African-Americans. A number of diversity and inclusion discussions led by business leaders have attempted to address the issues.

The new grant specifically will be used to assist in covering costs associated with GRACC’s exploration of program development and future implementation. This includes consulting with Melvin Gravely, a well-known national expert on minority business development. GRACC has been engaging with Gravely over the last year.

“We are eager to continue working with Dr. Gravely on the methods and means of growing successful minority-owned companies in the Greater Grand Rapids area,” said Sonya Hughes, GRACC’s vice president of inclusion.

“The Grand Rapids Chamber is committed to building strategic opportunities for equitable growth and increased prosperity for all,” she said.

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