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African-American entrepreneurship focus of new project


Local venture capitalist Start Garden and Grand Rapids Area Black Business announced last Thursday they have partnered together on a project called GRABB 5, which hopes to increase economic opportunity and entrepreneurship in the African American community.

The Grabb5 project will focus on accelerating five black owned business at a time, with new businesses being funneled into the pipeline.

“This one seemed like an obvious one because there’s obviously an awareness that something’s wrong, we just realized that the only way we could ever probably get a better understanding is to just run with five businesses and try to understand what are some of the obstacles that they might face, and how can we work around them," said Paul Moore the Chief Marketing Operator at Start Garden.

Grand Rapids Area Business CEO and Founder Jamiel Robinson said that after working with over 100 black owned companies since 2012, many of them share the same commonality.

“Access to capital is kind of the foundation of how most businesses get started, you need money to start a business and from the African American community access has always been an issue historically,” Robinson said.

The Grabb5 project is already seeing some success. On Thursday, Daddy Pete’s BBQ, one of the five businesses in the accelerator opened up their first brick and mortar location on the Southside of Grand Rapids.

Other business in the GRABB 5 project include Load A Spud, Malamiah Juice Bar, iactivate, and Mosby's Popcorn. 

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