A nonprofit that focuses on widening economic opportunity for residents and businesses on Grand Rapids’ southeast side hired a local entrepreneur to invest in the development of the 49507 area.
Amplify GR said Monday that it hired Jermale Eddie — owner and co-founder of Malamiah Juice Bar & Eatery, founder and CEO of Malamazing Juice Co. and founder of the business coaching and consulting firm JE Speaks — as its business partnership manager.
The new role was created to further invest in expanding job creation and retention in the 49507 ZIP code. As a Grand Rapids business owner and entrepreneur, Eddie will be “instrumental in supporting business owners and establishing neighborhood employer partnerships geared toward career opportunities for residents,” Amplify GR said.
“Neighbors have consistently said they want increased access to good-paying jobs and economic opportunities, as well as more support for minority- and women-owned businesses,” said Danielle Williams, director of economic opportunities for Amplify GR. “We welcome Jermale to the team as a neighbor, entrepreneur and community champion to honor and uplift these priorities.”
As the business partnership manager, Eddie will identify and help activate business ownership and employment opportunities for neighbors in the following ways:
- Assist area businesses to build capacity to support neighborhood-based hiring and retention
- Partner with community organizations to provide leadership development and workforce training
- Work with neighborhood-based businesses to establish regular networking opportunities
- Support neighborhood-based businesses in their efforts to create and maintain sustainability measures
- Encourage and support business development and entrepreneurship
Eddie will continue in his other business ventures while taking on this new role.
Amplify GR described Eddie as having “a rich history of community involvement.” He previously served as director of discipleship at Madison Church and director of education innovation at Urban League of West Michigan. Currently, he serves on the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority Board, the Urban Core Collective Dream Team and the Grand Rapids Neighborhood Summit Planning Committee.
“As an entrepreneur myself, I understand the challenges of owning a business, and I’m passionate about connecting business owners and employees to resources that can aid in their success,” Eddie said. “The southeast side of Grand Rapids deserves investment from our business community, and I’m eager to be a part of the team working toward equitable ownership and career opportunities in the 49507 area.”