Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB) was started in August 2012 as an initiative to build awareness and support for Black businesses in the Greater Grand Rapids area. July 2013, GRABB launched as an organization focused on promoting locally owned Black businesses and revitalizing neighborhoods through Black business development. Since then GRABB has evolved into a 501c3 economic and business development organization launching several programs and initiatives aimed at increasing economic equity and creating wealth through entrepreneurship for Black residents in the Greater Grand Rapids Area and beyond.
Empower Black entrepreneurs to launch, survive, sustain and scale their businesses while significantly expanding the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem and improving access to resources, markets and networks that are essential to entrepreneurship.
What is GRABB?
Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB) is an institution that provides a platform that propels Black entrepreneurship forward to create wealth for our community through economic and business development.
GRABB works to foster an economy that creates prosperity and supports the revitalization of predominantly Black neighborhoods. GRABB works to expand opportunities for Black businesses in the Metro Grand Rapids area by assisting them with acquiring and leveraging Five forms of capital (Cultural, Human, Social, Intellectual and Financial) and creating awareness for Black businesses.
GRABB works closely with current and aspiring entrepreneurs to regardless of what stage or phase. Our goal is to enhance, and expand the Black business community in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We believe that creating vibrant business districts anchored by Black businesses is vital in raising the quality of life for families in economically depressed predominantly Black neighborhoods in Metro Grand Rapids and beyond. GRABB has been recognized as a leader in economic equity in West Michigan.
Connect Entrepreneurs to Resources & Opportunities
Empowering entrepreneurs is essential. We help by connecting them to vital resources and opportunities, including funding, mentorship, marketing support, business development workshops, and more. Our personalized approach ensures that entrepreneurs get the right support at every stage of their journey. Our work is to create a more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem and help Black entrepreneurs make a positive impact in their communities
Assess Businesses To Understand Their Strengths and Capabilities
Our assessments are designed to provide a comprehensive picture of a business's operations, including its financial health, market position, and management capabilities. We work closely with business owners to identify areas of strength and potential areas for improvement, and then develop a customized support plan to help them achieve their goals. We conduct comprehensive business assessments to identify strengths and capabilities. This helps us provide targeted support services to drive growth and success.
Advocate for systems level change
As a dedicated organization, we wholeheartedly and passionately advocate for transformative systems-level change at multiple levels, including the local, state, and federal arenas. Our unwavering commitment lies in effecting positive shifts in the existing structures, which will significantly bolster resources, financial backing, and essential support networks for the empowerment and advancement of Black entrepreneurs and businesses.
Networking to bridge the divide disconnected entrepreneurs
Through purposeful networking initiatives, we aim to bridge divides and create a supportive ecosystem that welcomes diverse perspectives, leading to fresh insights and innovative collaborations. By nurturing meaningful relationships and facilitating knowledge exchange, we empower entrepreneurs to drive substantial business growth, unlocking their full potential and propelling them towards success.
Navigate the entrepreneurial ecosystem
We are dedicated to guiding entrepreneurs through the entrepreneurial ecosystem, ensuring access to technical assistance and capital. By actively engaging with Black entrepreneurs, we empower them to overcome challenges, seize opportunities, and thrive. Through comprehensive guidance and facilitation, we aim to equip entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and knowledge, enabling them to make informed decisions, secure essential funding, and ultimately thrive within the dynamic business landscape.
Founder & CEO
To date Robinson has been recognized as a leader in West Michigan on economic equity and development with feature articles in the Crain’s Detroit, The Guardian, Grand Rapids Business Journal, Grand Rapids Press and Grand Rapids Magazine. Robinson was named by the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce as one of 30 extraordinary leaders over the past 30 years, Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 40 under Forty Business leaders and highlighted as one of the 200 Most Powerful Business Leaders in West Michigan.
Jennifer Burns is the Administrative Coordinator for GRABB. Jennifer has always been a person of service and aspires to inspire others to do the same. She truly believes it takes a village and each one teaches one is a true phrase to live by. Born and raised in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jennifer takes pride in her mixed cultural background being that she is Afro-Latina. Jennifer attended GRPS Creston High School (Go Polar Bears!), a previously local Grand Rapids Public School and education in Communication, Business Administration and Youth development from Grand Rapids Community College.
Jennifer is a true Grand Rapidian taking pride in the growth and equality of Black businesses in the Grand Rapids area. GRABB Local Inc’s mission is personal to her as the Granddaughter of a Minority-owned contractor in West Michigan. She has seen first hand the systemic disadvantages that BIPOC are up against. Jennifer hopes to gain a deeper connection to the community she serves and use her position to continuously educate Black entrepreneurs in the Greater Grand Rapids area.
Prior to joining GRABB Local Inc, Jennifer’s work experience was in Youth development & Community Outreach spending more than five years in that field. Jennifer’s hobbies are learning to sew, attending sporting events/concerts, spending time with her family and friends. All while growing her own local business “Revel Lifestyle Thriftique”.