Since coming on the scene in 2013 Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB) has been elevating the community’s awareness of Black businesses and the State of Black businesses.
Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB) is an Economic Development social enterprise. GRABB works to foster an economy that creates prosperity and supports the revitalization of predominantly Black neighborhoods. GRABB expands opportunities for Black businesses in the Metro Grand Rapids area by assisting them with acquiring three form of capital (Social, Intellectual and Financial) and creating awareness for Black businesses. GRABB is empowering the Black business community that is leading to meaningful and beneficial economic growth and sustainability.
GRABB works closely with current and aspiring entrepreneurs to regardless of what stage or phase they’re at. With the goal to enhance, and expand the Black business community. We believe that creating vibrant business districts anchored by Black businesses is vital in raising the quality of life for families in economically depressed predominantly Black neighborhoods in Metro Grand Rapids and beyond.
Currently, Black-owned businesses are scattered throughout the city and surrounding areas in places likes Cascade, Wyoming, and Kentwood. By creating defined business districts in predominately Black neighborhoods, it will provide black-owned businesses with a base to attract customers, employees and regional support. It also will create a sense of togetherness and reinvigorate community pride back to marginalized neighborhoods.
The median income of Whites households is $77,000 and African Americans is $22,000. Out of nearly 16,000 businesses in Kent County, MI only 6% are owned by African Americans. A Forbes article (http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2015/01/15/the-cities-where-african-americans-are-doing-the-best-economically/2/#11f1dbca394d) from last year ranked Grand Rapids 51 out of 52 as worst places economically for African Americans. In predominately Black neighborhoods in Grand Rapids, MI the unemployment rate is 53% (W K Kellogg Foundation Data) and nearly 45% of Blacks live at or below poverty line (USC Professor Manuel Pastor). GRABB is working to holistically improve economic conditions in the Black neighborhoods in the Metro Grand Rapids area.
Duplication is often viewed negatively but in the business community especially in the Black community it’s necessary with the amount of dollar’s leaking out. In order to redirect and recycle a good percentage of the dollar’s leaving our neighborhoods we must create and launch 100’s of both lifestyle and high growth businesses.
GRABB is shifting to the next phase of our strategic plan in order to address these extreme disparities in our community.
This year we will be launch several new programs including our GRABB & Go Business Development Series. Our GRABB & Go Business Development Series is designed to provide Black entrepreneurs with information and Hands-on help from experienced and knowledgeable entrepreneur/professionals about growing and sustaining their businesses. Through GRABB’s business series, entrepreneurs will learn best practices and strategies on everything from cash management, product development, sales and marketing to becoming capital ready. Experienced entrepreneur talks and expert workshops provide additional opportunities to learn—and share what they know.
We will also be rolling our Next Culture Series. Next Culture is a platform for influencers, doers, creatives and tri-sector leaders (Social, Public and Private) to have engaging public conversations focused on Entrepreneurialism, Community Building and Placemaking. Next Culture is about the people, ideas, organizations and businesses sharing information on what they are currently working on, why and how it’s transforming our city.
This next phase for Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses is an important one as we are creating structural and institutional change by increasing the number of sustainable neighborhood Black businesses that will build wealth and ensuring that economic policies are either leveraged, changed or created that are able to be equitably accessed by entrepreneurs.
Again, we believe that creating vibrant business districts anchored by Black businesses is vital in raising the quality of life for families in economically depressed predominantly Black neighborhoods in the Metro Grand Rapids and beyond.