GRABB Grants Help Black Businesses Navigate COVID-19

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According to Jovan Naves, owner of Bare All LLC, receiving a Black companies in the Grand Rapids area (GRABB) The Relief and Resilience Grant not only kept local businesses afloat, but also enabled them to purchase new equipment. Originally as a clothing line in Detroit, Bare All has expanded to operate its own screen printing factory since moving to Grand Rapids, Naves’ hometown. The factory not only prints original screen printing designs on the Bare All clothing line, but has also produced clothing prints for a wide range of commercial customers, including Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, Grand Rapids Public Schools and the Grand Rapids Police Department.

“We’re basically designing everyday clothes, but we want them to represent urban businesses in Michigan, Grand Rapids, and black people,” says Naves. “Most of the time, everything we do, we do in-house. We are giving people something to be proud of. “

Bare All takes their commitment to the community seriously. In addition to providing jobs, Naves and his staff have mentored 15 young people to date, not only by sharing the ins and outs of a clothing business, but also by fostering entrepreneurship and the business relationships that will serve whatever type of business they want. to start.

“We welcome students who want to learn screen printing, high school students or young graduates and pay them”, explains Naves. “We teach them the due diligence of what goes on in a real business.”

Other GRABB Relief and Resilience Grant recipients include B.Creativ Confections, Creative sculptures, Dolly’s delights, Lady Love by James Price, Studio Life Addicts, Nexus Power and DataCom Inc., PJDADJ Sound & Entertainment LLC, Shine like mine and Sitting Pretty of Michigan, LLC. Comcast donated $ 25,000 for distribution.

Describing itself as an economic and business development organization that empowers black entrepreneurs to launch, survive, sustain and grow their businesses, GRABB works to foster an economy that creates prosperity and supports the revitalization of predominantly black neighborhoods. The GRABB Relief and Resilience Fund was specifically intended for black entrepreneurs and business owners affected by disruptions and limitations to ongoing COVID-19 operations. Grants support for-profit businesses that have been unable to access adequate funding through COVID-19 Paycheque Protection Program, Economic disaster loansand other traditional forms of enterprise capital resources.

“Many of the businesses affected by COVID-19 in Grand Rapids are small family businesses that have failed to access traditional sources of capital,” said Jamiel Robinson, founder of GRABB, in a interview with Rapid Growth Media in November 2020. “Comcast’s funding to directly support our Relief and Resilience Fund is timely. In addition to our other programs, this support will help black businesses stay afloat and survive these difficult times, while giving them leeway to refocus and move forward in this uncertainty.

Black businesses struggled to access the first round of federal funds to help small businesses because, for many, the financial institutions they did business with were not among those chosen to provide loans.

In addition to selling through its online store, Bare All Clothing has held pop-up markets in Detroit, Cleveland and Grand Rapids. COVID-19 has put the brakes on the pop-up scene, but Naves is excited to be back.

“Bare All turns eight in April and I’ll be 30 in April, so we’ll have something. We are waiting to see what COVID allows us to do, ”he says. “We really appreciate the grant and all the favors we got from the City of Grand Rapids. We continue to grow. “

Written by Estelle Slootmaker, Development Editor
Photos by Bird + Bird Studio, courtesy of Bare All Clothing

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