Announcing Our New Lakeshore Area Business Development Officer, Karen Benson

We are thrilled to announce the addition of Karen Benson as the Business Development Officer in the Lakeshore Area. Her addition is partly funded through grants and donations from The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, The Community Foundation for Muskegon County and Bonnie Miller.

“We are grateful to have someone as talented and as experienced as Karen Benson join our team. We can’t wait to see the impact she will bring to this position and to the entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Lakeshore Area,” shared Bonnie Nawara, CEO of GROW.GROW has been staffing the area part-time and teaching several classes through the Innovation Hub in Muskegon.

The addition of Benson will support the expansion of GROW’s services to lakeshore entrepreneurs. Benson’s role will be to help develop and grow Lakeshore Businesses.  She will deliver and coordinate entrepreneurial training programs, business counseling and mentoring, and work with clients in gaining access to capital for startup or growth.

Benson added, “I’m excited to be a part of GROW and know that this effort will allow us (GROW) to expand our presence along the West Michigan Lakeshore, which has already seen a lot of entrepreneurial activity. I’m excited to help provide greater access to resources and services to entrepreneurs within GROW’s service area, especially along the Lakeshore where I have spent a lot of time throughout my career.”

Benson received her Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Cornerstone University and has a background in economic and business development. She brings a wealth of experience to this new role, some of which includes: Executive Director of the Northwest Economic and Industrial Development Corporation, Economic Development Director with ACI/The Chamber in Grand Haven, Vice President of Business Development at Grand Haven Bank, Business Development Manager at Muskegon Area First, Director of Innovation Services with The Right Place in Grand Rapids, and most recently Director of Educational Partnerships with Olivet Nazarene University’s Graduate Studies here in Michigan.


About GROW:
Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW) is an organization focused on women and men at various stages of business ownership. They are the entrepreneurial resource throughout West Michigan to help entrepreneurs take the next step, empowering and supporting them with professional expertise for a lifetime. More than half of those GROW serves are low to moderate income individuals who want to start or build their business.

GROW offers professional, high-quality training and business counseling in all facets of business, including finance, management, marketing, strategic planning, human resources, and more. GROW is one of only 110 certified Women’s Business Centers in the nation, and one of three in Michigan, all in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Learn more about us here.