Connect, Learn & Advocate During Small Business Week
It’s National Small Business Week from April 30 – May 6! The Grand Rapids Chamber community is celebrating by joining 40 entrepreneurial support partners at the Small Business Resource Fair on May 4th.
Learn more about the fair here and read below about the ways our Chamber team gets to interact with small businesses every day!
The Small Business Environment in Grand Rapids
The widely-accepted SBA definition of a small business is a privately-owned enterprise with 500 or fewer employees, so we know that a large portion of the 2,400 organizations in our Chamber membership contribute to the prospering small business community here in the Grand Rapids area.
Whether it’s an enterprise consisting of one individual or a team of hundreds, our staff and network of resources serve as experts in their fields and ecosystem navigators for entrepreneurs, so that we continue to build a thriving and prosperous West Michigan for ALL.
Tap Into Resources
If you are a small business owner or interested in becoming more familiar with the small business community, we encourage you to contact our Business Services team. You can also actively support small businesses in the following ways:
The best way to get-to-know small businesses is to directly connect with them. Here is the Chamber’s active Membership Directory. Search by category and reach out to our team for an introduction to a member. Also, find small businesses at our networking events including our Hump Day Happy Hour and Business Exchange Luncheons. In addition, shopping local retail is a great way to show your support – we even have a Retail Attraction and Retention Specialist serving our City, and who is focused on ensuring we have a thriving and accessible downtown area for retailers and shoppers.
Taking the leap to start, operate, and scale a small business is no easy task, but it is imperative to seek new knowledge through available resources.
Find small business leaders sitting in on our Business Growth Workshops and participating in our Talent Development programs to increase their levels of business acumen and leadership skills. In addition, many of the community’s resources for learning are free and we partner with several organizations, including SCORE mentors, who are located within our office space.
It is critical to lift up the voices of small businesses at the local, state and national levels. Our Government Affairs team works on behalf of all sizes of businesses to ensure that barriers to business growth are removed and that appointed leaders are educated on the needs of small business communities throughout the state of Michigan. Find a list of current priorities here.
Alongside our advocacy at the government level, our team is also working on the grassroots level through the launch of our Center for Economic Inclusion. The Center builds upon on our already established diverse-business programming such as Diversify Your Spend business showcase, ELEVATE cohort, and West Michigan Minority Contractors.
Through procurement opportunities, small business outreach and consulting, as well as strengthening partnerships across the community, our team is committed to reaching more small businesses as the Center continues to grow.