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2014 Neighborhood Business Awards

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Uptown Business Improvement District looks for support

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Business Awards Bestowed

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A Big Night for Small Business Owners

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22nd Annual Neighborhood Business Awards Nominee list

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Who we are?

Neighborhood Ventures (NV) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, neighborhood-based, community and economic development organization that works to increase the success of neighborhood business districts. These efforts improve quality of life and quality of place, enhancing the economic vitality of Grand Rapidsí urban neighborhoods.  Because of NVís continued work, urban neighborhoods are more inviting to visit, safer to live in, and better places in which to do business.

What we do?

Neighborhood Ventures (NV) works with neighborhood business districts to help them become self-sustaining and vibrant. A neighborhood business district is a concentration of small, independent businesses that draw from the surrounding residential community. NV seeks to ehance and revitalize neighborhood business districts by providing technical assistance and access to practical economic development tools (see Projects and Programs) through partnering with other area organizations and community stakeholders.

Why we started?

As the economy started to decline and the infrastructure in urban areas increasingly deteriorated, many citizens voiced concern about having to travel outside the city to purchase basic goods and services. Residents and neighborhood business people were also distresssed about the slighting appearence of their neighborhood retail areas. Likewise, the challenges of owning a small business in urban Grand Rapids were immense, with little or no resources to turn to for assistance. Something needed to be done. 

In 2005, a group of community stakeholders united around the goal of redirecting investment back into the local economy by supporting small business in neighborhood commercial districts. Out of that group formed Neighborhood Ventures (NV), with the mission to  revitalize commercial corridors in urban Grand Rapids through infrastructure improvements, beautification and maintenance, retail recruitment, public and private partnerships, and support for small businesses.

What we value?

NV Core VALUES:

  • Diversity
  • Collaboration
  • Honesty and Integrity
  • Pursuit of Excellence
  • Commitment/Fortitude
  • Respect
How we do it?
  • Facilation of neighborhood stakeholders to voice concerns and take action to solve problems facing their districts
  • Funding for public and private improvements to the business districts 
  • Recruitment and technical assistance to attract entrepreneurs and create and retain neighborhood businesses 
  • Incentives to property owners to improve their buildings (see programs)
  • Strong relationships with city leaders and other area non-profits to collaboratively revitalize neighborhood commercial corridors
Where do we work?

Neighborhood Ventures targets all 20 neighborhood business districts in the City of Grand Rapids.

Grand Rapids Business Districts

Alger Heights

Boston Square

Cheshire Village

Creston

Divison South

Eastown

East Fulton

East Hills

Franklin/Eastern

Grandville Ave

Heartside

Madison Square

Monroe North

Seymour Square

Stockbridge

Wealthy Street

West Fulton

West Leonard

Why does it matter?

Investing in neighborhood business and commercial areas is more critical than ever to Grand Rapids' economic future. Every year millions of dollars leave our neighborhood economies to big box stores outside of the city. By supporting local businesses in neighborhood commercial areas we can reverse this trend and create a strong and stable urban core, a new and expanding class of business entreprenuers, and an effective and innovative local and regional economy. The success of West Michigan depends on a thriving Grand Rapids.  A thriving Grand Rapids depends on thriving neighborhoods. Thriving neighborhoods depend on vibrant business districts.


Through the work of Neighborhood Ventures and its partners, Grand Rapids is moving towards a future of successful,  diverse, sustainable, and vibrant neighborhood commercial centers.

What are some of Neighborhood Ventures accomplishments?

Some of the results of Neighborhood Ventures (NV) work include: 

For more accomplishments, click here

  • Creation of the 28th Street/Division Ave. Gateway Beautification Site (a gateway into the Burton Heights business district, located at the corner of 28th Street and Division)
  • Creation and faciliation of two community collaboratives, the Southtown Alliance and the Uptown Forward Team, working to address the needs of their micro-region. 
  • Branding of the Southtown and Uptown micro-regions on banners, bike racks, and window clings
  • Facade improvements on 30 storefronts throughout Uptown, Southtown, and Burton Heights
  • Facilation of the Corridor Improvement District (CID) Planning Process in the Uptown and Southtown micro-region
  • Assistance for public infrastructure and installation of wayfinding signage throughout Uptown 
  • Grassroots level organizing of business and community stakeholders
  • One-on-one technical assistance and specialized business trainings to recruit new businesses, create jobs, and retain existing businesses
  • Cooperative marketing strategies throughout all target businesses districts
  • Increased occupancy in area business districts
Where are we headed?

Neighborhood Venturesí vision is a city full of vibrant business districts, distinctive and reflective of each unique neighborhood.  Currently, NV is the only organization in Grand Rapids working exclusively to create vibrant neighborhood business districts. As reflected by our core values, we have a commitment to the pursuit of excellence. Our dedicated staff has the combined education and experience to further assist neighborhood business districts revitalize themselves.

NV continues to work at the grass roots level to support community stakeholders and provide sustainable tools for neighborhood economic development. With community support and a variety of public/private partnerships, NV continues to grow and expand our services, striving to become the premier economic development organization for every neighborhood business district in Grand Rapids.

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Copyright © & 2008, Neighborhood Ventures

1514 Wealthy Street SE
Suite 214
Grand Rapids, MI† 49506
616.301.3929

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