GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Starting any small business can be a challenge, but those challenges can be amplified for minority-owned businesses.
One of the common problems: insurance.
“Cost is definitely a factor,” Khara DeWit, co-owner of The South East Market in Grand Rapids, said.
The store opened last month on Kalamazoo Avenue SE south of Hall Street, offering the kind of foods that aren’t always easy to find on the city’s Southeast side, like fresh produce, meats and other healthy, farm-to-table items.
“Having access to insurance or just options or even the knowledge of what’s out there and why it’s necessary is really important,” DeWit said.
Now, a local insurance broker, an NFL star quarterback and his singer wife have teamed up to help minority-owned business navigate through the maze of insurance questions.
“We feel that we can do a better job reaching into and providing access to these vital instruments to these communities,” Elliott Bundy, spokesman for Grand Rapids-based Acrisure, said.
Acrisure is the large insurance broker that will take up residence downtown at the Studio Park complex later this year.
It has teamed up with Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson and wife Ciara to improve access to insurance for minority-owned businesses through Evolution Advisors.
“The point of this is really to try to rethink the way that insurance and financial service products are distributed and made available to diverse communities, minority-owned businesses, across the United States,” Bundy said.
Acrisure, which acts as a kind of middleman between customers and providers when it comes to businesses obtaining insurance, says that over the last decade, minority business enterprises have made up over half of the 2 million new business startups in the U.S. Those businesses created 4.7 million jobs.
“This is an extension of that philosophy of wanting to make an impact in the communities we operate in,” Bundy said.
Bundy said the Wilsons aren’t just names on the promotional material. They’re invested as partners in Evolution Advisors.
“Literally invested in what we’re doing both emotionally as well as a business point of view,” Bundy said.
It’s an investment that could result in one less hurdle for minority owned businesses.
“To be able to especially highlight the needs of minority businesses would be of great benefit.” DeWit said.