Economic Development News

Business Incubator helps local entrepreneur's shop grow.

Business Incubator helps local entrepreneur's shop grow.

Posted: 10-10-2012

LINC Community Revitalization, Inc. is proud to announce its Business Incubator has its first graduate. Kristian Grant, owner of Sydney’s Boutique, has moved from the LINC Business Center to a stand-alone retail space in Eastown.

Kristian joined the LINC Business Incubator a little over a year ago and set up shop in the LINC Business Center at 1258 Madison Ave. Kristian worked with LINC’s Economic Development Director Jorge Gonzalez to grow her business, and took free classes on everything from accounting to legal issues offered through the Incubator.

Sydney’s Boutique was able to move to a bigger shop in the vibrant Eastown commercial district this summer, a move that Kristian says she could not have done without help and connections from LINC.

“The foundation that we started with LINC and on Madison is what gave me the confidence to move here,” Kristian says. “If it weren’t for that location on Madison we wouldn’t exist at all.”

LINC Economic Development Director Jorge Gonzalez says that after sitting down with Kristian and going over her business ideas, LINC was able to support her towards independence. LINC provides entrepreneurs and existing business owners like Kristian with a set of classes and a stream of information that is essential to running a business, helping them grow their existing ideas.

“We serve as a stepping stone and connect people like Ms. Grant to resources so that they can be financially successful on their own,” Gonzalez said.

Through LINC’s Business Incubator program entrepreneurs like Kristian Grant can receive advice and be linked to different opportunities and information. The program also supports young professionals, women, and minorities to stay in the areas they call home, which in turn stimulates local economies.

“LINC’s Business Incubator program was the reason Ms. Grant was able to stay in West Michigan and be successful as a young professional when so many others are leaving,” Gonzalez said.

Kristian agrees. The look and feel of Sydney’s Boutique often reminds shoppers of stores in Chicago, Los Angeles or other big cities, but Kristian counters that it has a Grand Rapids feel.

 “This is where I’m from, this is where the people that I love the most are,” Kristian says. “This is where I’ll hang my hat.”

Through the Business Incubator and other programs, LINC works to connect people to opportunities, and to make traditionally underserved neighborhoods in Grand Rapids attractive spaces to live and work. LINC’s economic activities are a way to revitalize communities and create self-sustaining commercial corridors throughout the city.

Kristian says that the support she received from LINC gave her tools to succeed.

“They were willing to take a gamble on me and really work with me, and because of that I was able to spend time studying how to do better, which allowed us to be able to grow.”