Carter Contracting Co.

A photo of Zjanice Carter sanding drywall.

Starting her own business was never really the plan for Zjanice Carter, but when the demands of school, work, and now being a new mom started to cause friction in her life, she had to make some tough decisions.

She had spent some of her college years helping her father repair rental houses and later worked for a local painting company. With that experience, she started Carter Contracting Co. in 2021. She started by taking on local painting and drywall projects, but after a while, she had a small team of trained painters known as the Carter Crew.

Along the way, Carter connected with many of the small business resources the City of Kalamazoo and its partners offer. She joined the Kalamazoo Contractors and Developers Connect group, which helped her make connections, explore grant opportunities, and get commercial work. She also took advantage of free lead abatement training offered by the State, so Carter Contracting Co. is now certified to do work that keeps people safe from lead paint. Carter also joined the Core 60 program (funded by the Foundation for Excellence), which helps accelerate minority-owned construction businesses and help contractors get their business licenses.

In her journey as a small business owner, Carter credits a lot of her growth and success to the networks she is a part of and the relationships she has built along the way. She fully agrees that “your network is your net worth” and her advice to other emerging contractors is to “just keep showing up because eventually, your name will make it into rooms that you have never stepped foot in.”

The Foundation for Excellence is proud to support entrepreneurs like Zjanice Carter and invest in sharing these opportunities with everyone in Kalamazoo.  


Kalamazoo Contractors and Developers Connect

The Kalamazoo Contractors and Developers Connect (KCDC) is a collaborative effort that includes community stakeholders such as the Kalamazoo Black Male Alliance, the Home Builders Association of Western Michigan, Room 35, and the City of Kalamazoo. This network of developers and contractors opens up new opportunities, like business grants or commercial work experience. Currently, the KCDC group meets on the 1st Friday of every month at Factory Coffee located at 213 E Frank Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007.

Lead Abatement Training

In 2023, the City of Kalamazoo teamed up with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to certify more lead professionals as a part of an ongoing commitment to reduce the risk of lead exposure in the City of Kalamazoo. This grant opportunity helps contractors to get licensed in Lead Abatement as well as certified in Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP). These opportunities are posted on the City of Kalamazoo website as they become available. If you have any questions or would like to be notified of upcoming trainings, please contact the City's Lead Program Manager, Rachael Luscomb, at


Room35 was hired by the City of Kalamazoo (with funding from the Foundation for Excellence), Southwest Michigan First, Housing Resources Inc., and other local organizations to develop and run entrepreneurial business-growth programs. This includes the Core 60 program, a 10-week Minority-Owned Construction Business Accelerator program. The program helps contractors complete their builders licensing coursework. If you are a Black, Indigenous, Person of Color, and/or and women-owned construction company who wants to get licensed and position your business to scale, you can apply for the Core 60 program here.