GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Valley State University today named Linda Chamberlain as executive director of the university's new Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.
The Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation will operate within Grand Valley's Seidman College of Business on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus and will focus on supporting West Michigan's high-growth entrepreneurs through a range of new resources and support services.
“The center represents an exciting and important step for Grand Valley and our growing role across West Michigan. To effectively serve our students and our communities, we must always be looking for new ways to build collaborations and create opportunity,” said Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas. “The Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation will be part think tank and part resource clearinghouse, with the goal of supporting and promoting entrepreneurship and innovation.”
Chamberlain has served as Executive Director of the West Michigan Science & Technology Initiative (WMSTI) since early 2007. Her career includes leadership positions in research and product development at companies from blue chip to start-up, including her own company focused on creating and validating new business opportunities. She holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Purdue.
Seidman College of Business Dean H. James Williams said the center is fortunate to have Chamberlain at the helm. “In many ways, Linda has been setting the groundwork for the center for the past three years, and we are looking forward to the energy and leadership we know she will bring to this important effort,” he said.
Rich Cook, director of WMSTI's Venture Center, has been named interim executive director for WMSTI. That organization will continue to provide incubation and related services to West Michigan in partnership with the new center. For the past six years, WMSTI has supported the commercialization efforts within life science and technology by operating world-class incubation space and assisting more than 400 clients and helping to secure millions of dollars in new investment.
“The creation of the center represents a critical expansion of West Michigan's commitment to entrepreneurs and the role they must play in our economic future,” said Jerry Callahan, chairman of the WMSTI Board. “WMSTI's incubation and advisory resources will be more important than ever. We look forward to the many new collaborative opportunities that will emerge.”
This spring, the center will establish an advisory board, launch several programs focused on synchronizing resources and complete strategic planning focused on developing new sources of capital. It will cultivate connections that benefit area entrepreneurs, and it will work with Grand Valley faculty and staff to develop cutting-edge academic programming for student entrepreneurs based on international best practices and the recent research into innovative design.
“Seldom does entrepreneurial success come by accident. It requires a lot of hard work, collaboration and support from people willing to help along the way. By launching the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Grand Valley and West Michigan as a region are sending a message that this is a great place to take your idea to the next level.” said Michael Jandernoa, principal of Bridge Street Capital.
About Grand Valley State University
Grand Valley State University, established in 1960, is a four-year public university. It attracts more than 24,400 students with its high quality programs and state-of-the-art facilities. Grand Valley provides a fully accredited liberal undergraduate and graduate education and has campuses in Allendale, Grand Rapids and Holland, and centers in Muskegon and Traverse City. Grand Valley is a comprehensive university serving students from all 83 Michigan counties and dozens of other states and foreign countries. Grand Valley offers 77 undergraduate and 28 graduate degree programs. The university is dedicated to individual student achievement, going beyond the traditional classroom experience, with research opportunities and business partnerships. Grand Valley employs more than 1,700 people and is committed to providing a fair and equitable environment for the continued success of all.