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Opportunity Awaits Community Initiative Designed to Bring Former Michiganders Home

Michigan Business Network
October 6, 2020 10:00 AM


The Grand Rapids Chamber and community partners announced today an initiative to promote West Michigan’s economic, social, and cultural opportunities to those who have moved away from the region.

Grand Rapids, Michigan – October 6, 2020 Today, the Grand Rapids Chamber, in conjunction with Experience GR and future community collaborators launched the Opportunity Awaits campaign. The campaign seeks to underscore the benefits West Michigan offers for newcomers. It also aims to empower business and community leaders to share the story of how West Michigan has grown even in the face of a pandemic.

“West Michigan is known for its natural beauty, beer, art, and friendly communities, but we’re so much more,” said Rick Baker, President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Chamber. “Our region has the fastest growing economy in the United States and is home to over 130 international companies. We want those who have left to come home. This campaign is meant to provide those individuals with the tools and initiative to relocate successfully.”

The trend of ex-urbanization in large cities began prior to COVID-19 and has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Millennials are purchasing homes, and there is both a priority and a preference to live in areas with an abundance of space, amenities, and an affordable cost of living. Many of the people who have left West Michigan in the past are unaware of how the area has grown. This campaign will showcase who West Michigan is through the individuals, businesses and community organizations who live, work and play here. It’s time to put a face to all of the top-ten lists we continue to make. 

Opportunity Awaits Logo

The Opportunity Awaits campaign focuses on those who have grown up in West Michigan and left to pursue careers elsewhere. The initiative will demonstrate how West Michigan has grown and changed over the last few years. It is a region offering large-city amenities with a small-town feel.

“While we have issues that we need to work on, Grand Rapids is the place where we can continue to make a difference,” said Nelson Sanchez, COO of RoMan Manufacturing. “We can invite others here to help us shape a better future. We need them to continue the positive trajectory of this place we call home.”

West Michigan is known on a national scale for art, beaches, and beer. While these are all wonderful traits of our home, many people outside of the region are unaware of just how many opportunities there are. With strong industries like manufacturing and technology, world-renowned businesses, and growing communities, West Michigan offers a unique opportunity for newcomers and returning residents to live fulfilling, prosperous lives.

“The pandemic has taught companies that a great deal of work can be done remotely,” continued Meredith Bronk, President & CEO of OST. “As companies and individuals reevaluate, they need to have West Michigan on their list for the best place to live in the new reality. Both individuals and employers are evaluating the necessity of being located in large metropolitan areas with high costs of living.”

The Opportunity Awaits campaign is designed to be a community-wide effort, supported by other businesses and organizations in the area. The initiative will promote West Michigan’s opportunities, cultural benefits, and resilience in the face of COVID-19.

“This campaign is just getting started,” concluded Baker. “We need community partners to own, adapt, and evolve this initiative and message to ensure we reach both diverse audiences and people who can make West Michigan the best mid-size city in the nation.”

More information on the campaign can be found at http://opportunityawaitswm.org. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to get involved. 


About the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce 
The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce leads the business community in creating a dynamic, top-of-mind West Michigan region. Together with over 2,500 member businesses (80% of which are small businesses with fewer than 50 employees), we work to expand the influence, access, and information required to actively encourage entrepreneurial growth and community leadership. We offer the connections, resources, and insights needed to develop strong leaders, engage a diverse workforce, foster an inclusive and welcoming community, and advance a vibrant business environment that nurtures economic prosperity for all. Learn more at www.grandrapids.org.

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