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Grand Rapids nonprofit Construction Allies in action is launching the first phase of its Affiliate HUB program for underrepresented construction contractors. Grand Rapids nonprofit Construction Allies in action is launching the first phase of its Affiliate HUB program for underrepresented construction contractors.

Construction nonprofit launches services for underrepresented contractors

BY Sunday, October 02, 2022 12:11pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Construction Allies in Action is launching the first phase of a new program to help underrepresented commercial and residential construction contractors grow their businesses. 

The Grand Rapids-based nonprofit’s Affiliate Historically Underrepresented Business (HUB) program will give contractors access to vendors at a discounted rate for a variety of services including estimating, website design, marketing and safety training. The organization plans to add legal services, documentation, employee training, accounting and general office support as demand grows for the Affiliate HUB program.

“We are so excited to open this up, and we’re still raising money for (the Affiliate HUB),” said Elizabeth Bovard Strong, president of Construction Allies in Action. “We know we’ll get there, but we knew we could open some of the services.”

Construction Allies in Action formed in 2020 to spur generational change by helping underrepresented contractors through a seven-month, free construction training program called Strong Foundations. The second cohort of the training program comprising 18 different minority-owned, women-owned and micro-local construction contractors is set to wrap up in November. 

“After the first year of the Strong Foundations program, we realized we definitely needed a bridge to keep helping these companies,” said Bovard Strong, who also is the executive vice president of Builders Exchange of Michigan. “There is still so much more that goes into being able to get bids and work on jobs in the construction field.”

Amid many large-scale projects underway in West Michigan right now, the ongoing lack of available talent in the construction industry is “a huge concern,” Bovard Strong said. 

“It’s critical to get more mentors, we need someone to walk with these companies,” she said. “We want them to be able to really hone in on what their company does and grow it well.”

The Affiliate HUB will also help members better understand how to bid for jobs profitably and manage what jobs make sense for their company to take on, Bovard Strong said. The program will hold networking events that focus on building relationships between underrepresented contractors and project owners to increase the likelihood of securing bids and being successful on projects. 

Affiliate HUB membership pricing is a tiered system based on a company’s expected annual revenue. The program will cover 50 percent of vendor costs for member businesses with annual revenues below $100,000 and 25 percent of vendor costs for members with annual revenues more than $100,000.

The Grand Rapids-based nonprofit estimates members could see revenue increases of 20 percent on average after one year in the Affiliate HUB.

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