Grand Rapids: 80 companies join ‘River For All’ program

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids portion of the River Restoration Project is expected to generate at least 100 million dollars of work for various contractors.

The city’s Micro-Local Business Enterprise program, MLBE for short, is helping spread the wealth.

“It’s about a 10-year project, to have it from start to finish. So we’re talking about a generational project,” said Alvin Hills IV, the city’s business developer.

Many smaller business lack the knowledge and connections to get a chunk of that business, so nine months ago, the city launched an all-out push to sign business up for MLBE.

The programs helps businesses who meet a certain criteria — including being headquartered in Kent County and in business for at least a year — get a leg up on city contracts, especially woman and minority owned businesses.

While the program creates advantages for those small businesses, it’s not a guarantee MLBE certified businesses will get a contract.

“Just because you’re certified as a MLBE, it doesn’t guarantee you will be moved to the front of the line. You still have to go through the process. You still have to be competitive,” Hills said.

He says the push to certifying more businesses is paying off.

Registration in the program is up 63% since last July. Of those businesses registering, 70% are woman or minority owned.

There are currently 80 companies registered.

“As we bring more attention and investment to our Micro Local Business Enterprise Program, it reverberates to every corner of the city,” Hills said.

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