The Grand Rapids Chamber has formed several Minority Business Councils to bring together diverse leaders and create an inclusive culture in the West Michigan community for minority-owned businesses.
The three councils were designed to support three historically underrepresented groups in the community: a Black Business Council, a Hispanic Business Council, and an Asian and Pacific Islander Business Council.
The councils meet regularly to discuss topics and issues specific to their experiences and enable like-minded business leaders to build connections in the community.
A few times a year, all three councils gather together to encourage a cross-section of diverse leaders to engage with one another. While there are many community organizations doing amazing work to support the diverse groups in Grand Rapids, the Chamber is excited to provide this unique opportunity where these groups are encouraged to collaborate with one another.
Bridging the Gap
The purpose behind the Minority Business Council program is to raise up the next generation of diverse leaders in our community. By getting involved in a Minority Business Council, leaders are able to grow the foundation of their business, becoming more involved in strategic advocacy, and foster powerful connections that bring them to the next level.
This initiative was created in response to the lack of diverse leadership in both public and private sectors.
“We don’t see a lot of minorities or people of color in these conversations, especially at the local and state level,” said Caylie Peet, the Minority Business Program Manager at the Chamber. “In the future, our goal is to see these leaders flourish and grow to the point where they’re in the seats of county and city commissioners, leaders in their industries, and others are looking up to them as examples. When you think of the big names in our city, we want diverse names to come to mind.”
The official council charter, which lists the mission behind the councils, states three overarching themes that the councils were created to promote:
- Civic Engagement – Create intentional programming that enhances the council’s strategic goals and push advocacy initiatives into proper channels and networks.
- Capacity Building – Engage and support effective leadership opportunities for all businesses and personal growth, including talent strategy and work environments.
- Peer-to-Peer Relationships – Create meaningful relationships among individuals, organizations, and groups within the community.
The Minority Business Councils are still accepting additional members! Those interested in getting involved with the Hispanic Business Council or Asian and Pacific Islander Council can reach out to Caylie Peet at firstname.lastname@example.org. At this time, the Black Business Council is no longer accepting additional members. There will potentially be open seats in 2023 following the renewal period.