Center for Economic Inclusion: Q1 Quarterly Update

The Grand Rapids Chamber’s Center for Economic Inclusion (CEI) delivers technical and tactical support to the small business community. CEI programming works to foster economic inclusion and help small businesses thrive with an intentional focus on diverse-owned businesses.

Read below to learn more about the impact of CEI in Q1.


Current Trends:

  • Access to capital is an ongoing barrier.
  • Many small businesses do not have business plans which impact their ability to secure capital.
  • Businesses are struggling with lack of social capital.
  • Language access impacts exposure to growing limited-English proficient business owners.


18 diverse-owned businesses joined as new Chamber members in Q1. Click here for the full directory of all Chamber members.

  • AGO Design Group
  • Alfajores Gourmet
  • Blue Beacon Realty
  • Clean Juice – Cascade
  • CyberSentryPro
  • Eastern Floral & Gift Shop
  • EntreVita, Inc
  • Fresh Coat Painters of Cascade
  • Goodbye Junk Removal
  • GrammoTones
  • Jefferson and Sons, Inc
  • Marvelous Lifestyles Outreach
  • Master Roofing Professionals, LLC
  • Revolution Car Audio
  • Sol Design
  • Sonic Cleaning
  • Supermercado La Victoria
  • Vive Michigan


The Grand Rapids Chamber’s Diverse Business Enterprise certification program recognizes minority, veteran, women, tribal, disability and LGBTQIA+ owned businesses. Certifications are provided to increase transparency and to create opportunities for procurement with supplier diversity programs with the area’s largest companies. Nine new businesses were certified in Q1, for a total of 69 certified business.

Minority-Owned Businesses:

Women-Owned Businesses:

LGBTQIA+ Owned Businesses:

Tribal-Owned Businesses:


Laura Hopson, President & CEO, EM Services

“The team at the Grand Rapids Chamber has been extremely supportive of me, my team, and my entire company.

My involvement with the Chamber has not only increased business opportunities and revenue for our company, but is also helping us move closer to our vision of positioning our company as a leader in supply chain and supplier diversity here in West Michigan.

In addition to providing access to resources and information, the Chamber team has also been a tremendous advocate for our business. The exposure that we have received has been second to none!

Our company has also found value in attending the various networking events. We are frequent participants in the West Michigan Minority Contractors programming and networking events. Our participation has resulted in new business connections that are turning into great business opportunities.”



Business Growth Workshop: Artificial Intelligence for Business*

February 20 | Attendance: 85

West Michigan Minority Contractors: How to Get the Bid Workshop (ft. the Amphitheater project)*

February 22 | Attendance: 97

*Spanish interpretation was offered to Limited English-Proficient attendees.

ELEVATE Minority Business

This quarter, we conducted a focus group with past ELEVATE participants and mentors to make a strategic plan for 2024 programming.

Mosaic Business Collective

Added four new council members:

  • David Castro, Applause Catering
  • Javier Olvera, Olvera Enterprises
  • Joseph Malone, Holo Footwear
  • Rachael VanderHeide, Eastern Floral/Goei Center

New Partnership

This quarter, we launched a partnership with the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan. Chamber staff provides consulting and ecosystem navigation to Hispanic Center clients who are entrepreneurs and business owners.


West Michigan Minority Contractors: Accounting Essentials Workshop | Thursday, April 18

Business Growth Workshop: Human Resources on a Small Business Budget | Tuesday, April 23

Economic Inclusion Summit: The State of Economic Inclusion in GR | Wednesday, May 8

Public Launch of the DBE Certifications | May 2024

For more information or to get involved in our CEI work, please reach out to our team members:

Jenny Waugh headshot
Jenny Waugh, Vice President of Economic Growth,
Samuel Sanestin, Economic Growth Program Manager,












Program Underwriter


Chamber Champions

 Flagstar Bank Logo    Gentex Logo   Gerald R. Ford International Airport

Be Independent Bank  LMCU    RoMan Manufacturing  Walmart-Logo


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