The Right Place unveils online database of diverse business owners

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Randy Thelen Courtesy The Right Place

The Right Place launched a Diverse Business Directory for greater Grand Rapids on its website as part of its economic inclusion initiatives.

The filterable directory is a database of more than 1,200 minority-, women-, veteran- and LGBTQ+-owned businesses in 13 West Michigan counties, which includes Kent, Barry, Montcalm, Ionia, Ottawa, Allegan, Newaygo, Mecosta, Mason, Muskegon, Oceana, Lake and Osceola counties.

“Prioritizing economic inclusion is critical to the long-term success of our region,” said Randy Thelen, president and chief executive officer of The Right Place. “As the region’s economic development organization, it is The Right Place’s responsibility to be part of the solution in advancing DE&I (diversity, equity and inclusion) in our business community.

“Our organization is focused on three core pillars: people, place and prosperity. In order for our community to be prosperous, we have to ensure all members of our community have the tools needed to reach their full potential and that greater Grand Rapids is a place where anyone from any background can thrive.”

Many of the businesses listed in the Diverse Business Directory were derived from the applications of businesses that previously applied for emergency COVID-19 relief grant funding throughout 2020. The Right Place exported elements of the business applications and utilized them for the directory.

“Through our work with the greater Grand Rapids business community, our team was able to identify a significant disconnect between minority-owned businesses in the region and companies seeking to diversify their supply chains,” said Tim Mroz, senior vice president of strategic initiatives for The Right Place. “It is our expectation that this directory will provide a means of bridging that gap, making this relationship-building a simpler process for all.”

Unlisted businesses that qualify under the SBA 8(a) definition as minority-owned can submit a request to be added to the directory using this form found on the database’s landing page.

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