Annual Minority Business Celebration


    GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce will showcase the local minority business community this Tuesday in its 2004 Minority Business Celebration at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.

    This year’s program will feature Melvin Gravely, founder of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Thinking, as keynote speaker and breakout session facilitator. An owner of multiple businesses himself, Gravely speaks and writes on various topics related to entrepreneurial thinking, small business development, marketing, team spirit and leadership.

    Gravely’s latest book, “When Black and White Make Green: The Next Evolution in Race,” is the inspiration for the program’s theme, The Next Evolution in Business and Race.

    “Based on the relevance to the advancement of the minority business enterprise, this year’s theme will focus on education,” said Brian Harris of the Chamber’s Cultural Diversity Council’s Steering Committee. “The speaker will help the audience understand how this is really more about enterprise than it is about social matters. It’s about good business sense and opportunity and less of a social and moral issue.”

    Gravely is also the co-founder of Infrastructure Services Inc., a civil and structural engineering firm, and serves on the business faculty of Thomas More College and the Xavier University entrepreneurial advisory board.

    The celebration begins at 12:30 p.m. with the luncheon and Gravely’s keynote address. Following that, the 2004 Minority Business Awards will be presented.

    “Each year we attempt to recognize some of those in our community who stand out for particular reasons,” Harris said. “Whether it’s a minority enterprise that has grown or a corporation that has exceeded in its inclusion of minority suppliers and employees.”

    Last year’s winners were Nolan Groce of L&G Products for Minority Businessperson of the Year, Joe Jones of Jones & Gavan as Advocate of the Year, and SBC as Corporation of the Year.

    After the luncheon, attendees are invited to workshops facilitated by Gravely. Following the program’s end, the chamber’s monthly Business After Hours networking event will be held at the same location.            BJX

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