Nine months into its first year, the City of Grand Rapids’ Micro-Local Business Enterprise (MLBE) program has helped small, minority- and woman-owned businesses access bidding opportunities for river restoration contracts

Originally published April 20, 2021 by The City of Grand Rapids

The City of Grand Rapids launched its River For All Micro-Local Business Enterprise (MLBE) registration initiative in July 2020. Since launching, the program has proven successful in creating a more equitable pool of businesses seeking Grand River (Owashtanong) restoration contracts.

The MLBE program currently has 80 total companies across 34 industries including construction, landscaping, and tourism. The newly registered businesses account for a 63% increase since July. Many of the businesses are owned by women and people of color.

The program’s primary goals include:

“It has been exciting to see this important program grow over the last nine months,” said Alvin Hills IV, the City’s Business Developer. “Not only will these businesses have access to bid on river restoration projects, they can also view and bid on City-led projects across Grand Rapids.”

The MLBE registration program aligns with the City’s strategic priority of economic prosperity and affordability and its commitment to equity.

“By creating a program that is intentionally designed to decrease systemic barriers for businesses owned by women and people of color, we are allowing more voices to be brought to the table when it comes to growing and improving our city,” said Ciarra Adkins, the city’s Equity Analyst. “Our vision for a River for All starts with these restoration projects and extends into the future recreation programming, educational resources, and ecological and cultural preservation in and along the Grand River.”

Businesses may register as a vendor or supplier with the City HERE. Before registration, call the City’s Purchasing Department at 616.456.3173.

For more on the MLBE registration program, CLICK HERE.