GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Inflation and talks of a recession forced some businesses to close in 2022, but it didn’t keep others from starting new ventures in Grand Rapids.

According to the city, they welcomed 44 new businesses. More than half of those opened after July.

“Since July 1st, we’ve actually opened 26 and they’re in all three wards. Just in the Third Ward alone, we opened seven businesses,” said Richard App, the retail, retention and attraction specialist for the city of Grand Rapids. “We opened about a dozen in the Second Ward and the remainder in the First Ward.”

App added the entrepreneurial spirit has been vibrant this year.

He hopes new initiatives and programs like the Economic Inclusion Program, which is set to take effect in 2023, will increase the number of new businesses to 50 or more.

“We, along with another person, just submitted a grant to hopefully get that program off the ground and get going quickly,” App said. “We are talking with a lot of the different entrepreneurial support organizations in the city to work along with us.”

He hopes the program will start sometime in the spring.