New fund to back minority-owned businesses

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new venture capital fund aims to support minority-owned businesses in West Michigan.

The New Community Transformation Fund is backed by Consumers Energy, Bank of America and regional economic development agency The Right Place, Inc.

“West Michigan has one of the strongest performing economies in the nation,” The Right Place President and COE Birgit Klohs said in a Thursday statement. “Yet, this economic growth has not been shared by all members of our community. By investing in companies that will create long-term economic prosperity in communities of color, this fund will increase upward mobility and ultimately build a more diverse and globally competitive economy.”

Consumers and Bank of America each contributed $200,000 to get the fund started. Organizers are reaching out for more donations to raise a total of $15 million to $25 million before launching the fund next year.

The fund will make resources available to new and midstage businesses, particularly those in manufacturing, food processing, agribusiness, life science and medical devices, and IT.