WMU-Cooley to offer workshops to support entrepreneurial and poverty-relief initiatives

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School is offering a series of workshops in Grand Rapids designed to promote area business expansion, including growing minority and women owned businesses. The workshops are open to the community, including a for credit option for WMU-Cooley law students and WMU graduate students.

The workshops will be held from 6-9 p.m. on Jan. 11, Jan. 20, and Feb. 7 and feature a panel of expert guest speakers. The courses are fashioned to help participants define their professional mission, identify local and global business needs, and identify methods to meet those needs. The courses will help participants network with lawyers and professionals, provide support for pro bono service, and work in teams to develop solutions.

"The objective of the course is to raise awareness of needed professional services in overlooked areas of West Michigan's economy," explained Nelson Miller, WMU-Cooley Law School's Grand Rapids associate dean. "By doing this, we hope to, at the same time, encourage investment and growth in these underserved communities."

The first workshop will feature a panel discussion with speakers Darel Ross and Jeremy DeRoo, LINC-UP; Kenyatta Brame, Cascade Engineering vice president; Brent Geers, founder of Geers Law; Tim Ready, WMU Center for Ethnic Relations director; and Grand Rapids Black Chamber of Commerce representatives.

The second workshop will feature Trey Dimsdale, Acton Institute community engagement director; Jorge Gonzalez, executive director of the Grand Rapids Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities leadership.

The final workshop will focus on women-owned businesses in the local community. Speakers will include Bonnie Nawara, CEO of Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (G.R.O.W.), as well as several female entrepreneurs who will share their stories and insights on overcoming obstacles of a success in starting and developing a business.

"We are excited to be a part of this program," stated Gonzalez. "WMU-Cooley's approach, which reaches out to underserved populations, not only will teach people about the systems available to them, it will also assist in advancing and promoting businesses that have experienced barriers in the past."

WMU-Cooley Law School professors encourage participants to review information found at povertycure.org and Building Your Practice with Pro Bono before attending the workshops. The law school will provide electronic copies of the book to those registered for the workshops.

Participants not seeking credit will be charged a $100 registration fee, which will benefit WMU-Cooley Law School's academic programs. The course was organized by WMU-Cooley Law School professors and is sponsored by WMU-Cooley Law School's Center for Entrepreneurial and Commercial Law.

For more information on the course and to register, contact Associate Dean Nelson Miller at millern@cooley.edu.

Published: Wed, Dec 28, 2016