ZEELAND – Lakeshore Advantage has released the Certify Your Business video series to offer education on the benefits of certification for diverse businesses. The series features the lead certification support provider for woman, veteran, minority, and LGBT- owned businesses, and provides an overview of the process, cost and timeline.

“Each certification process, depending on your certification category, is a bit different,” said Jennifer Owens, Lakeshore Advantage President. “No need for businesses to worry because there are expert support organizations that are ready to help, featured in the video series.”

The series includes:

  • Why Certify Your Business video with Jim Bos, Yanfeng and Joe Matthews, Gentex discussing their companies’ successes in working with Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) and why a diverse business owner should consider going through the certification process from the corporate buyer’s perspective.
  • A 4-part interview series highlighting:
    • How to Certify Your Woman-Owned Business with Michelle Richards, Great Lakes Women’s Business Council’s Executive Director
    • How to Certify Your LGBTQ-Owned Business with Kevin Heard, Detroit LGBT Chamber of Commerce President of the Board of Directors
    • How to Certify Your Minority-Owned Business with Andrew Sims, Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council Vice President
    • How to Certify Your Veteran-Owned Business with Roderick Rickman, Veteran-Owned Business Roundtable President
  • An upcoming webinar on The Corporate Buying Process, February 25, to raise awareness of the benefits of intentional purchasing programs for area companies, with a panelist of business leaders who have supplier diversity programs in place.

Critical support of this project came from Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council members who have established supplier diversity programs in place. Lakeshore Advantage worked with local leaders to create the Certify Your Business series to further support Michigan Small Business Restart Grant applicants and other diverse businesses by sharing why a business might consider certification, and how they can go about the process.

“Realize that starting a supplier diversity program is a journey,” said Joe Matthews, Gentex Vice President of Purchasing and Diversity Officer. “Know what you spend and with whom you spend. You might be surprised to see opportunities that already exist to expand your supplier pool. The potential for creating impactful business relationships is evenly distributed across the supplier community. Opportunity is not. Supplier diversity provides opportunity across the entire supply base.”

The certification process connects diverse businesses to mentors and a support network to help them succeed, and also increases the number and variety of vetted businesses for corporate buyers to access when making purchasing decisions.

“There’s a tremendous amount of opportunities in the Holland/Zeeland area for those who take advantage of MBE certification,” said Andrew Sims, Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council Vice President. “You don’t have to travel far to chase work.”

The Certify Your Business series is possible through a Consumers Energy Foundation grant.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our state’s economy and have been significantly impacted during this unprecedented time,” said Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary/treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “Consumers Energy is committed to helping Michigan’s small business community succeed now, more than ever. We are happy to work with local economic development organizations that know their communities’ needs best and are making sure our contributions are having the biggest impact.”

 About Lakeshore Advantage

Lakeshore Advantage is a non-profit local economic development organization started in 2003 by forward-focused business and community leaders to ensure current and future generations want to live and work in our vibrant economy. Lakeshore Advantage assists primary employers, from startups to large world-class corporations, in West Michigan’s Allegan and Ottawa counties.

More at www.lakeshoreadvantage.com.