The Chamber has a mission of “being a champion for West Michigan business.” For our continued growth, it is important to ensure we have a strong business climate and this inaugural study serves as a key benchmark. This report is to provide the Chamber with information on of ease of doing business in the Grand Rapids area.
- This study focuses primarily on the impact of licensing, planning and taxes on the ease of business in local communities and compares us to aspirational cities.
- Overall, the local business community has a very favorable view of doing business in the Grand Rapids area and are seen as easy places to do business.
- The study shows room for improvement, particularly in the areas of planning and permitting in the City of Grand Rapids. What we see in the study is that as the City has grown, service has slowed and decreased in this area. However, increased speed should come at the expense of thoroughness.
- While we fair better in these areas than some of our aspirational cities, navigating these processes can be time-consuming and cumbersome. Sometimes even experienced business have difficulty navigating the process. More certainty in the interpretation of ordinances would improve the business environment and reduce uncertainty.
- Treating businesses more like customers would be seen as a positive step. Municipalities should be concerned that 50% of their “customers” feel they are “slightly” or “very” unhelpful or were unsure.
- Businesses that are new to the area or those that don’t have key relationships and knowledge have a harder time doing business. Especially in abnormal situations as the most burdensome as the high cost of having your day heard in court is often cited. However, we have better processes vs. aspirational cities. The City just needs to improve communication and customer service. Addressing this will support entrepreneurship and business growth across the community.
Through our local advocacy efforts, the Chamber is working to address this and more. If you have an issue, concern or idea, please contact Josh Lunger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616.771.0336.