The Right Place Launches ‘Diversified Business Directory’ of West Michigan Businesses

LARGE RAPIDS — The Good Place Inc. released a new digital database of businesses owned by people of color, women, veterans, and members of the LGBTQ community operating in a 13-county region of western Michigan.

The diverse business directory, which includes more than 1,200 alphabetical listings, is searchable by business name or industry and also includes business phone number, location and website. The Right Place launched the directory in accordance with its strategic plan, which includes a goal of increasing economic inclusion.

“Through our work with the Greater Grand Rapids business community, our team was able to identify a significant disconnect between minority-owned businesses in the region and businesses seeking to diversify their supply chains,” Tim Mroz, vice -senior president of strategic initiatives for The Right Place, said in a statement. “We hope this directory will provide a way to bridge that gap, making this relationship a smoother process for everyone.”

The Right Place gathered much of the directory information from applications companies submitted for COVID-19 emergency relief grant funding in 2020. The regional economic development agency exported elements of the applications to use in the directory.

The JPMorgan Chase Foundation helped fund the initiative.

The directory contains businesses located in Kent, Barry, Montcalm, Ionia, Ottawa, Allegan, Newaygo, Mecosta, Mason, Muskegon, Oceana, Lake and Osceola counties. Unlisted companies that meet the US Small Business Administration’s definition for minority ownership can submit a request for listing.

In addition to the directory, The Right Place is leveraging its Inclusive Learning Lab project with the Brookings Institution to advance business development and talent initiatives for minority-owned businesses.

“Priorizing economic inclusion is critical to the long-term success of our region,” The Right Place President and CEO Randy Thelen said in a statement. “As the region’s economic development organization, it is The Right Place’s responsibility to be part of the solution to advancing (diversity, equity and inclusion) in our business community.”

“Our organization is focused on three fundamental pillars: People, Place and Prosperity,” added Thelen. “For our community to thrive, we must ensure that all members of our community have the tools to reach their full potential, and that Greater Grand Rapids is a place where anyone, from any background, can flourish.”

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