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From Tokyo to Grand Rapids: Building strong, local economies around the world

From Tokyo to Grand Rapids: Building strong, local economies around the world


4/12/17
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Last week, Local First had the incredible opportunity to host a group of business management consultants from Japan, who were visiting the United States for the fourth-annual Harvard Social Enterprise Conference in Boston.

With a special focus on social enterprise, workforce development and public/private partnerships, the group came to the U.S. to learn about best practices for building a sustainable economy and to visit a city that’s already implementing those practices.

Hiroshi Amemiya, the group’s leader and a professor at Meiji University in Tokyo, initially reached out to me about six months ago after hearing about the work Local First is doing to strengthen our local economy, as well as Cascade Engineering’s workforce development programs. After telling them more about Grand Rapids and our local B Corp network, they decided to plan a trip to West Michigan.

Our tour began bright and early on Tuesday, March 29, at the Gluten Free Bar where we toured its facility and chatted with owners about how they’re using their business to make a positive impact in West Michigan. Throughout the day, we explored Grand Rapids and toured different B Corps across the region, including Cascade Engineering, 616 Development, New City Urban Farm, Brewery Vivant and Essence Restaurant Group.

There were a number of interesting observations Hiroshi’s group made about West Michigan’s local economy. Read the full article on grbj.com