GRAND RAPIDS – The Grand Rapids Chamber announced this week that applications are now open for the second cohort of ELEVATE, a minority business program aimed to build increased capacity among second stage, growth minded minority businesses by removing obstacles and creating a solid foundation.

ELEVATE equips participants with strong business fundamentals to tackle obstacles to capacity growth, introducing new and reinforcing existing relationships with the Grand Rapids Area business community and surrounding the participant with a system of support to enable the personal growth needed to provide vision, direction and leadership necessary to manage a more complex business.

“In the inaugural ELEVATE program, we were exposed to some of West Michigan’s best minds and subject matter experts on an array of business topics,” says Michael Davenport, President and CEO, Jireh Metal Products, Inc. “My participation has definitely helped me become a stronger leader.”

Program participants will benefit from a robust system of support individualized to their specific business goals and needs–including business analysis and advice through direct consulting, peer round-tables, and outside expertise from a personal board of advisors. Participants will gain unique access to existing and prospective customers, resources and tools that will strength their competitive advantage.

“The key underlying component of ELEVATE‘s mission is to transform the strategic approach of minority businesses and increase their ability to remove barriers and maximize market opportunities.  In doing so, they will become stronger economic drivers in the communities where they operate.” says Dante Villareal, Vice President of Business Services at the Grand Rapids Chamber.

To apply for the ELEVATE minority business program, visit