In Winter 2020, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation engaged Regionerate LLC to assess the Grand Rapids Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. The goal of the project was to better understand current assets in the startup and small business ownership community related to innovation, talent, place-building, access to capital, entrepreneurship education and training, and small business assistance.
This report presents initial findings and recommendations designed to build capacity for entrepreneurs of all types and sizes with a special focus on increasing underrepresented minority business participation in the historically high-growth economy of Grand Rapids. In order to foster a strong entrepreneurial network and attract additional outside resources, Regionerate offers high-level findings and recommendations to guide WKKF and other investors in: (1) delivering programs that broadly serve the entire network; (2) piloting programs that fill demonstrated gaps in the ecosystem and ultimately spin into the network; and (3) funding or scaling established powerful programs to reach more entrepreneurs.
Evaluation ObjectiveThe purpose of the evaluation is to provide an objective, third-party perspective on the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, including the current resource providers, resource connectivity, and gaps for stages of business development and growth.