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New GR Chamber inclusion center addresses barriers

Downtown Grand Rapids, MI
Photo Credit: The Right Place
Downtown Grand Rapids, MI

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.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.
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