Artificial barrier or lack of understanding? Tribal entities struggle to secure key minority business certificationWritten by Jessica Young
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.
Discussions about global warming often concern what could happen in the future, but West Michigan fruit growers are adapting to changes in the climate that have already been happening for decades. Jeff VanderWerff, a fourth-generation grower at Sparta-based VanderWerff Farms LLC, said he and his brother, Joe VanderWerff, spend more time than they care to admit watching changing climate patterns.
GRAND RAPIDS — Along with welcoming new leadership, the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute is preparing to launch a major initiative later this year to bring greater diversity to the region’s health care workforce. Micah Foster became executive director in January at GRAAHI, a 17-year-old nonprofit organization that works to promote parity and eliminate racial disparities in health care. Foster succeeded Shannon Wilson, who in December joined Priority Health as director of Medicaid outreach and quality after leading GRAAHI for eight years.
Emmanuel “Manny” Toribio has been chosen as the next city manager of East Grand Rapids following the retirement of Brian Donovan, who served in the position for 25 years. Currently, Toribio is the assistant director of facilities planning and management at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Before that, he served for three years as city administrator for Prairie City, Iowa, and six years as city planner for Des Moines.
Industry trends increasingly are blurring the lines between philanthropy and business. As government funding to address issues such as food insecurity, homelessness and poverty continues to shrink, requests to funders are increasing as the nonprofit sector seeks to fill those service gaps. The result from this growing trend is perhaps most visible in philanthropic support of economic development efforts, often through significant investments.
Pabst Brewing Co. appears to be jumping into the spirits product category with the help of a West Michigan brewery and distillery.
Metro Health-University of Michigan Health launched the Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehab program for patients with heart disease.
Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and Covenant HealthCare plan to develop a $40.7 million rehabilitation hospital in Saginaw.
A $44 million hotel development in downtown Kalamazoo has secured project funding from the state of Michigan.
A project to construct townhomes in the city’s Michigan Oaks neighborhood gained financial support from the state on Tuesday.
After three generations of family ownership, Grand Rapids-based Amstore Corp. will permanently cease manufacturing operations at its headquarters, MiBiz has learned.
An appeals court ruling upheld the ability of employers to withdraw job offers to people who failed a pre-employment drug test, even if they are a legal user of medical marijuana. In a case involving the City of Lansing and its utility, the Lansing Board of Water and Light, the Michigan Court of Appeals this week ruled that employers may withdraw a just offer from prospective at-will employees.
Medbio LLC, a West Michigan-based manufacturer of injection moldings, assemblies and packaging for medical device and biotech industry, has acquired AIM Plastics Inc.
Private equity firm Auxo Investment Partners moved deeper into the marine transportation business with an investment in Muskegon-based Andrie Inc.
Manufacturing holding company Andronaco Industries Inc. plans to relocate its Conley Composites LLC subsidiary from Oklahoma to a new location in Kent County.
MARNE — McCann Industries Inc. will expand to Michigan with a new facility currently under construction in Marne. The equipment and construction supply sales company hopes to open the new location in September, said James Maioho, Michigan branch manager for McCann.
DOWAGIAC — The non-gaming arm of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians had acquired a majority stake in Enmark Tool & Gage Co., a Southeast Michigan precision machining company. The tribe’s Mno-Bmadsen business investment arm closed on the deal on Feb. 1, according to a statement.
After nine months of investigation, the U.S. Department of Commerce submitted a concealed national security report on Sunday that prompted an immediate backlash from the auto industry.
Developers hope to begin construction this summer on housing and commercial space at a former church on the west side of Grand Rapids.
Universal Forest Products Inc. is acquiring the assets of a Grand Rapids-based wood panel components manufacturer.
The association health plan two business groups formed last fall for small Michigan-based employers has recorded strong enrollment in its early months. TrascendAHP — created in October by the Lansing-based Small Business Association of Michigan and Warren-based Michigan Business and Professional Association — enrolled about 300 small businesses through January. Those companies account for more than 1,400 contracts between TranscendAHP and their employees for health coverage.
GRAND RAPIDS — Legislation expected to be reintroduced this session could address the question of whether downtown residential property owners should help pay for the services currently funded only by assessments on commercial businesses. Although former Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed similar legislation, lawmakers could revive bills this year that would allow local taxing authorities to decide whether residential owners in business improvement districts should also pay the assessments that commercial property owners pay.
GRAND RAPIDS — The company that owns and operates the HopCat craft beer bar chain has secured another $6 million in capital it will use to open three to four more locations in 2019 and 2020, MiBiz has learned. In confirming BarFly Ventures LLC’s latest round of fundraising, founder and owner Mark Sellers told MiBiz approximately $5 million of the funding came from one new investor while $1 million came from Sellers himself. The company is still in the process of raising another $1 million from existing investors to reach its $7 million goal.
GRAND RAPIDS — A proposed contract between Start Garden Inc. and the Grand Rapids SmartZone would put in place new goals for fostering local tech startups. Rather than focusing on certain activities, the proposed contract establishes outcomes such as adding 10 new tech startups annually to the SmartZone service area, with six of those companies over two years owned by minorities or women, and providing service to 15 startups a year through its business incubator on Pearl Street in downtown.