Business entities owned by West Michigan-based Native American tribes face a surprising roadblock in gaining access to programs used to grow minority-owned businesses. While tribally-owned businesses often receive the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) disadvantaged business certification, they have not found similar success when it comes to getting “minority business enterprise” (MBE) certification through the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC).
West Michigan tribes may be relatively new to implementing economic development and diversification plans, but they’ve quickly established themselves as strategic partners for the local business community because of their focus on investing in companies and real estate. Moreover, many of the federally-recognized sovereign tribes are looking to engage with non-tribal businesses, spreading the opportunity beyond just tribal members into potentially powerful economic opportunities across the region.
GRAND RAPIDS — Even when it first acquired Dickinson Press LLC more than three years ago, Blackford Capital saw Brainerd, Minn.-based CJK Group Inc. as a potential buyer.
Blackford Capital’s latest deal brought a new investment partner to the table: Gun Lake Investments, the economic development arm of the Gun Lake Tribe.
Across West Michigan, Native American tribes have started to hang out their own shingle in enterprises that move them away from the familiar tribal-owned casino.
Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for March 6, 2017:
• M&A: American Grease Stick Co. of Muskegon was acquired last year by 3 Rivers Capital, a Pittsburgh, Pa.-based private equity firm. A manufacturer of branded automotive fluid transfer lines and related products for the automotive aftermarket industry, AGS has operations in Muskegon and the U.K. The company, which was founded in 1931, sells products through a variety of aftermarket retailers, including Advanced Auto Parts, AutoZone and Pep Boys, according to a statement. 3 Rivers purchased the company for $10 million from the Rosen family, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Business Times. The deal was backed by $9.75 million in subordinated debt and an equity co-investment from PNC Mezzanine Capital. JP Morgan Chase also provided debt financing for the transaction. Metz Lewis Brodman Must O’Keefe LLC of Pittsburgh served as legal counsel to 3 Rivers Capital. The sellers worked with investment banker Stout Risius Ross Inc. of Chicago.