According to a recent report by local news outlet Wood TV, Black entrepreneurship is on the rise in the Grand Rapids Boston Square neighborhood.
The neighborhood, which has a historically Black population, has seen an increase in the number of Black-owned businesses in recent years. According to Arick Davis, owner of the Boston Square community resource The Last Mile Cafe, one of the key factors contributing to the growth of Black entrepreneurship in the neighborhood is the availability of local startup incubators. This has made it easier for Black entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses without worrying about initial high rental costs.
Another important factor is the supportive community network in the neighborhood, according to Davis. Groups like The Last Mile Café and Kzoo Station have helped Black entrepreneurs to grow their networks. This has helped to foster a sense of community and collaboration, which has been essential in driving the growth of Black-owned businesses in the area.
Moreover, the growth of Black-owned businesses in the neighborhood has positively impacted the local economy, creating jobs and driving economic growth. This, in turn, has helped to improve the quality of life for residents in the neighborhood and has contributed to a sense of pride and community spirit.
Despite the positive developments, however, there are still challenges facing Black entrepreneurs in the Boston Square neighborhood and beyond. These include access to capital and resources, as well as discrimination and bias in the business world.
"I could sit here and talk for an hour about all the challenges and hurdles that we faced from the beginning until today and challenges that we are facing now," Davis told Wood TV.
To address these challenges, policymakers, business leaders, and the broader community need to come together and support the growth of Black entrepreneurship. This can be achieved through initiatives like those in Boston Square, such as mentorship programs, access to funding and supplies, and the promotion of diversity and inclusivity in the business world.