New GR Chamber inclusion center addresses barriers
Earlier this month, the Grand Rapids Chamber launched its Center for Economic Inclusion. The Chamber is addressing barriers experienced by entrepreneurs of color
The Grand Rapids Chamber reports “less than 1% of businesses bringing in $250,000 or more a year are owned by a person of color. 98% of business revenue in Grand Rapids comes from white owned businesses.”
Attah Obande is Vice President of Business and Talent Development at the Chamber. He explained, “The Center for Economic Inclusion is a holistic approach, addressing the lived experience of entrepreneurs of color. It will connect entrepreneurs to already existing services within the ecosystem and provide opportunities through programs and services needed for a business scale.”
A multi-year plan with a foundation built on elements including technical assistance, leadership development, and attractive lending.
In year one, the center will conduct 1-on-1 consults with 150 businesses, make 60 ESO referrals, host 60 participants in development programs, certify 100 businesses and provide $500k in approved loan referrals. The Center for Economic Inclusion goal is to double those numbers in year two.