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Newest resource for small business is big business

GR chamber members fundraise for small business
Grand Rapids Wealthy Street neighborhood retail storefronts.jpeg
Posted at 9:41 AM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-09 15:33:15-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The newest resource for small business in Kent County is big business in Kent County.

A coalition of large companies in the area have pulled together and pooled together funds to act as grants for local small businesses. As of Wednesday, the Rapid Response Economic Relief Fund, part of the Greater GR Chamber Foundation, has raised over $1 million to hand out. The ultimate goal is to raise $3 million.

“That alone demonstrates what the culture is like here in Grand Rapids, because this is not happening all over the country like it is here,” said Rick Baker, president and CEO, Grand Rapids Chamber. “We’re very fortunate to live in a community where philanthropic support is part of the culture of Grand Rapids and the business community.”

So far, 44 small companies – 97% of them minority-owned and 50% owned by women – have received part of the $415,000 already given out. The grants are set aside for businesses with 5-to-25 employees who might not otherwise get funding from the state or government due to depleted resources.

"They realize now that they're not alone in this fight, and it's been really encouraging for them to know that there's people rooting for them and working for them to help them be successful," said Baker.

Working with groups like Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses and Start Garden, the chamber is going off of referrals and targeting grant recipients who need the help most.

Each grant also comes with expert financial help to help companies navigate cash flow and maximize their grant.

If you want to apply as a business or donate to the Rapid Response Economic Relief Fund, click here.