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The Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CEI) in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University serves to champion and catalyze the vocation of entrepreneurship. To accomplish this mission, the CEI practices two objectives: talent development and the support for businesses. Find out who is behind the work at CEI . . .



CEI Group Photo

Shorouq Almallah


Shorouq Almallah is the Director at the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CEI) at Grand Valley State University.  She joined CEI in June, 2010.  In this role, she provides the necessary leadership and strategic direction for the centers management, program development, curriculum development, marketing, public relations and community outreach.   She is responsible for resource facilitation to entrepreneurs, program development, curriculum development, project management, organizational processes, and grant solicitation and management.  Previously, she served as Knowledge Resource Manager for the Family Owned Business Institute where she played an integral role in supporting the Institutes research, mission and initiatives.  Almallah has over ten years of experience in designing and coordinating the entrepreneurial education programs in West Michigan.   She is responsible for talent development initiatives on the University level and the region by working with community organizations on collaborative events and programs. She serves on a number of advisory and steering committees including the Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship, the West Michigan Colleges and Universities Group (WMCUG), the West Michigan Foundations Endowments & Family Offices (FEFO), and Grand Rapids Economic Development Partners Group (ESO).  Shorouq is fluent in both Arabic and English.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University in English and Linguistics, with a minor in Middle East Studies, and a Masters of Information Science from Indiana University


Kevin McCurren

Clinical Affiliate Faculty

J. Kevin McCurren joined the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation in May 2011 as the Executive Director. Kevin has over 25 years of combined corporate and entrepreneurial experience. As an entrepreneur he has been involved in the start-up of a medical management company, a dental laboratory company and several biomedical companies. As an investor, Kevin has been involved in several angel investment groups and recently served on the Executive Committee of the Venture Club of Louisville. Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science and Masters Degree in Public Health and Health Services Management from the University of Missouri.


Dr. Tim Syfert

Clinical Faculty

Tim Syfert teaches entrepreneurship and small business management, international business, and organizational strategy at Grand Valley State University to both undergraduate and graduate students. Tim has over 25 years business experience in key strategic roles at Timex Watch Company, Haworth, Royal Consumer Business Products, Sherwin Williams, Roadway Express Trucking Company, and Johnson Controls. His work at these companies resulted in several domestic and international patents for many products that are currently in production around the world. As a designer and business consultant, Tim has helped inventors and start-up companies develop new products, expand product portfolios, and launch new business ventures. He is currently developing his own new venture blending alcohols for use in sangria. Tim has a bachelors degree in business from Oklahoma State University, a masters in business administration in strategic planning from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institutes Lally School of Management and Technology, and a doctorate in organization development from Capella University.


Amy Gascon

Office Coordinator

Amy Gascon joined the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation in November 2014 as the Office Coordinator. In this role, she helps maintain the daily functions of the office. Before coming to Grand Valley, Amy held a variety of positions in the local non-profit field including time with AmeriCorps, United Way and Girl Scouts. Amy is a graduate of GVSU, receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies.


Julie Cowie

Project Manager-Sprout Lab
Entrepreneurship Adjunct Instructor

Julie Cowie's career path is marked by program development and problem-solving endeavors.  Currently, she is project manager for Sprout Lab, a program of CEI focused on delivering startup education to innovators working with ideas related to Michigan's Great Lakes economy.  This outreach program partners with colleges in more rural areas to help agricultural startups connect to Michigan's entrepreneur ecosystem.   As a consultant, Julie provides administrative leadership to Tetra Discovery Partners LLC, a drug discovery company working to address Alzheimer's disease.  Prior consulting work includes strategic planning, mediation training, and international conflict resolution work.  In the past decade, Cowie has launched an agritourism trail; a farm-based business, Improvisational Farmer LLC; and served two terms as an elected official at the Township level.  She is dedicated to community work and currently serves as the Vice President of the South Haven Health System Foundation Board.  She holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.  She was named a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Leadership Fellow in 1994.


Matt Larson

Entrepreneur in Residence

Co-founder and COO of CampusStarter

As the newest Entrepreneur in Residence, Matt Larson joins the CEI with an extensive background in banking, business consulting, project management, and higher education. Previously, Matt owned bookkeeping/payroll, vending, technology consulting, and crowdfunding businesses.  As a consultant, he has worked with multiple start-ups and businesses while coordinating a local inventor’s network and volunteers his time with Start-Up Weekends. Matt's entrepreneurship journey continues with his development of an open source mobile platform. In addition, Matt is Co-founder and COO of CampusStarter, a crowdfunding platform for college entrepreneurs. CampusStarter received outside investment and support from eMerge Xcelerate, a start-up accelerator in Grand Rapids, MI. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with degrees in Finance, Master of Arts in Career & Technical Education and a Master of Business Administration. 

Zoe Bruyn


Title: Marketing Liaison / CEO President

Michael Kurley


Title: Graduate Assistant 

Elyse Wild

Elyse Wild

Title: Magazine Editor


Taylor Babcock

Taylor Babcock

Title: Event Coordinator 

Emily Peterson

Emily Peterson

Title: Graphic Designer

Catherine Fox

Catherine Fox

Title: Web Developer