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In June 2021, The Right Place, Inc., launched its Diverse Business Directory for Greater Grand Rapids. It started when the organization’s team saw a significant disconnect between minority-owned businesses in the region and companies seeking to diversify their supply chains and overall vendor spend. Knowing that meaningful connections create a better, stronger local economy, The Right Place, Inc. knew it was time to close the gap.

The filterable directory, housed on The Right Place website, is a database of over 1,200 diverse-owned businesses operating in the 13-county region, which includes several tribally owned businesses in the area. “Economic Inclusion is one of our strategic pillars,” said Tim Mroz, Senior Vice President of Community Development at The Right Place, Inc. “Our focus is providing economic opportunities for all in the Greater Grand Rapids Region, and that includes tribally owned companies.”

Many of the businesses listed in the new Diverse Business Directory came directly from the applications of businesses that previously applied for emergency COVID relief grant funding throughout 2020. While businesses were struggling – including tribally owned businesses from different industries – The Right Place, Inc. saw an opportunity to connect those businesses with other local companies needing their services.   

The Diverse Business Directory is one of several economic inclusion initiatives The Right Place has been working on. The organization is leveraging key insights from its Inclusive Learning Lab project with the Brookings Institution to further its work in minority business development and talent initiatives—and it’s all beginning with the directory. “We want our community to be aware of the tribally owned businesses they can support right here in our region,” added Tim Mroz.

Are you a tribally owned business interested in joining the Diverse Business Directory?
Unlisted businesses that qualify under the SBA 8(a) definition as minority-owned are encouraged to visit http://www.rightplace.org/diverse-business-directory and submit a request.

The truth about Indian Boarding Schools

This month, we’re asking our readers to help us raise $10,000 to fund our year-long journalism initiative called “The Indian Boarding School Project: A Dark Chapter in History.”  Our mission is to shine a light on the dark era of forced assimilation of native American children by the U.S. government and churches.  You’ll be able to read stories each week and join us for Livestream events to understand what the Indian Boarding School era has meant to Native Americans — and what it still means today.

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