LARGE RAPIDS — Construction allies in action is launching the first phase of a new program to help underrepresented commercial and residential building contractors grow their businesses.
The Grand Rapids Nonprofit’s Historically Underrepresented (HUB) Affiliate Program will provide contractors with access to suppliers at a discounted rate for a variety of services including estimating, designing websites, marketing and security training. The organization plans to add legal services, documentation, employee training, accounting, and general administrative support as demand increases for the Affiliate HUB program.
“We’re so excited to open this, and we’re still fundraising for (the Affiliate HUB),” said Elizabeth Bovard Strong, president of Construction Allies in Action. “We know we will get there, but we knew we could open some services.”
Construction Allies in Action formed in 2020 to drive generational change by helping underrepresented entrepreneurs through a free seven-month construction training program called Strong Foundations. The second cohort of the training program comprising 18 construction contractors belonging to minorities, women and local micro-enterprises is scheduled to end in November.
“After the first year of the Strong Foundations program, we realized we definitely needed a bridge to continue helping these businesses,” said Bovard Strong, who is also executive vice president of Builders Exchange of Michigan. “There’s still so much more to do to be able to get offers and work on construction jobs.”
Amid many large-scale projects underway in West Michigan right now, the continued lack of available talent in the construction industry is “a huge concern,” Bovard Strong said.
“It is essential to have more mentors, we need someone to accompany these companies,” she said. “We want them to be able to really focus on what their business does and grow it well.”
The Affiliate HUB will also help members better understand how to bid for jobs profitably and manage jobs that make sense for their business, Bovard Strong said. The program will host networking events focused on building relationships between underrepresented entrepreneurs and project owners to increase the likelihood of securing bids and successful projects.
Affiliate HUB member pricing is a tiered system based on a company’s expected annual revenue. The program will cover 50% of supplier costs for member companies with annual revenues below $100,000 and 25% of supplier costs for members with annual revenues over $100,000.
The Grand Rapids-based nonprofit estimates that members could see an average 20% increase in income after one year in the Affiliate HUB.
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