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Posted on: Oct 14th 2022 05:25 PM


Welcome to Start Garden! This virtual community is made up of individuals from your area who are looking for resources and support to help start or grow their businesses. 

Within this hub, community members like yourself can access local resources, register for local events, explore a knowledge base and connect with other members. We believe the community will benefit from the rich content available on Start Garden. 

Get started by exploring the resource compass, connecting with others, and learning more about how to get involved. Your community is waiting! 

Start Garden is built on the Startup Space platform powered by Economic Impact Catalyst (EIC). Economic Impact Catalyst creates best-in-class, technology-enabled solutions to support entrepreneurship-led economic development in over 100+ communities across the country.

Getting Involved

Posted on: Oct 14th 2022 05:23 PM


It’s quick and easy to get involved with your community on Start Garden!

First, you would want to start off by creating/updating your profile. In the top right hand corner, select your profile and then update profile. This is a crucial step within Start Garden as everything is tied to your profile and will help you get the information and support you need. 

Use the left side menu from the desktop or the navigation bar on the app to visit the Resource Compass. This is your one-stop shop for local organizations, partners, individuals, and other resources in your area that are committed to helping small businesses start, grow, and thrive.

To learn more, visit the Resource Compass tile. 

You can also take advantage of Connect Now, the peer-moderated comment forum where community members can post questions, ask for help, and meet other small businesses within their region or state.

Lastly, there are other features like the Knowledge Center and Events that may be available for your community. Like the Resource Compass, you can use the left side menu or the navigation bar to access these opportunities.

Resource Compass

Posted on: Oct 14th 2022 05:21 PM


Looking for resources to start and grow your business? 

Startup assistance, mentorship, funding, entrepreneurship training, professional expertise, and other free and low-cost help to support your new idea or growing business starts here. This resource list has been curated by Start Garden, local partners that support small businesses, and by the team at Startup Space. 

See information that’s missing or needs updating? Please let us know by posting in Connect Now from your homepage. We rely heavily on support from members like you to keep this list relevant, accurate, and focused on truly supporting small businesses. Please take advantage of the flagging and reporting tools we have implemented to report inaccurate or irrelevant information or resources. We also encourage you to rate organizations or individuals you have personally worked with to give other community members an accurate representation of their services. 


Posted on: Oct 14th 2022 05:20 PM


Looking for events to start and grow your business? Start Garden and the Startup Space team have put together this central calendar to view relevant events going on in your community, whether in person or virtual, that might support you on your business journey. Events on mentorship, funding, entrepreneurship training, professional expertise, or other free and low-cost events can be found in our event calendar.  

See events that are missing or hosting an event you want posted? Click on “Add an Event” to have our community moderators review and consider sharing in the curated calendar. 

Knowledge Center

Posted on: Oct 14th 2022 05:20 PM


Start Garden and the Startup Space team have pulled together important local information into our Knowledge Center to serve as a repository for some of those hard to find business resources. Examples of materials may include local community permits or zoning regulations, FAQs on local business licensing, and other information as it pertains to the needs of your small business community. 

We are always looking for more information. If you have a question or need more detail always post in our Connect Now forum to hear from one of our local moderators. 

'Postcards from Grand Rapids': Tourism campaign invites friends, family to visit West Michigan

Posted on: Sep 04th 2020 04:12 PM


Experience Grand Rapids launched Postcards from Grand Rapids Wednesday, a campaign encouraging residents to invite friends and family to visit West Michigan. Starting September 2 through October 31, community members can send free, personalized postcards in the mail through Experience Grand Rapids’ website. Experience Grand Rapids has partnered with area hotels to offer overnight giveaways. Participants will be eligible to enter to win free overnight hotel accommodations. "Nearly 50% of travelers who come to the area are visiting friends and family," says Kate Lieto, Director of Marketing for Experience Grand Rapids. "West Michigan continues to be an ideal travel destination, and now we’re calling on locals to invite their loved ones and to help boost our local economy." Read the full article here. 

SBDC launches Entrepreneur’s Toolbox series

Posted on: Aug 20th 2020 08:54 PM


The West Michigan office of the Michigan Small Business Development Center developed a new educational training program for entrepreneurs and small business owners. The organization said it will launch the Entrepreneur’s Toolbox, a collection of practical information and resources that small business owners can use to quickly improve their business operations, with a free virtual how-to on Tuesday that will be the first in a series of webinars. The content is geared toward entrepreneurs starting, growing and/or scaling their business. The one-hour weekly webinars will demonstrate specific actions business owners or their employees can implement immediately. “It is so important for entrepreneurs to have the right tools for their business to survive and be successful during this time,” said Ed Garner, regional director of the West Michigan Small Business Development Center. “We wanted to make sure that we were part of the solution.” Read the full article here. 

Local Eats: Embrace the comfort food at Forty Acres Soul Kitchen in Grand Rapids

Posted on: Jul 30th 2020 10:02 PM


Forty Acres Soul Kitchen is gradually getting back to business after a four-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. The restaurant, located at 1059 Wealthy St. SE, specializes in southern-style soul food. Several vegan sides are also offered on the growing menu. Co-owners Darel Ross and Lewis Williams opened the restaurant in April 2018 with the intention of bringing some missing flavor to the bustling Wealthy Street Business District. The pair met through LINC UP, a community nonprofit, in which they are still actively involved. Ross and Williams hoped the restaurant would allow them “to show ownership and leadership” within a community that was once viewed as being crime-riddled and unsafe, according to Williams. “We wanted to create an ambiance and do soul food, the food we were raised on, in a nice atmosphere,” Williams recalled. Read the full article here.

FOAM-iT develops line of equipment to halt spread of COVID-19

Posted on: Jul 16th 2020 08:39 PM


A local provider of cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting equipment developed a new product line of equipment designed to stop the spread of coronavirus in the workplace. Grand Rapids-based FOAM-iT said it released a new line of disinfecting and sanitizing products specifically geared toward combating COVID-19 in workplaces such as office buildings, aircraft interiors, distribution centers, health care facilities and more. FOAM-iT’s new products are meant to ensure employees feel confident returning to work, and consumers feel safe as the economy reopens. “To serve our world’s urgent need for frequent and appropriate sanitation processes, our equipment will contribute to a safe and healthy work environment. Our desire is to help beat this virus,” said Scott Naylor, director of business development for FOAM-iT. “Our products are industry specific, customizable to the application and size of the location, and will save time while increasing productivity." Read the full article here.