GR Chamber Invests in Black and Maroon Owned Businesses

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce is expanding assistance to Black and Brown-owned businesses.

The chamber recently launched its new “Centre for Economic Inclusion,” designed to fill important gaps in the city’s business scene.

Of the 11,000 businesses in Grand Rapids that earn $250,000 or more a year, less than 1% are black and brown owned.

In fact, 98% of the revenue generated in Grand Rapids comes from white-owned businesses.

The new center will offer consulting, technical assistance, CEO mentoring, assistance with certifications and provide direct financial assistance to participating companies.

Attah Obande, who has been named head of the new centre, says helping black and brown-owned businesses helps everyone.

“Goldman Sachs a few years ago did a study that they called ‘Black Womanomics’ because black women are the fastest growing segments of entrepreneurs. And he said if we help a million black women-owned businesses grow, we could increase the national GDP by $450 billion, so there’s an economic case for doing that work as well,” explained Oband.

The chamber also did a separate study that showed that offering just a little help to Black and Maroon-owned businesses in the Grand Rapids area could boost the city’s economy by $6 billion a year. year.

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