The Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation is dedicated to developing best practices in entrepreneurship education and community engagement that enhance and impact the creation of new ventures and opportunities.
Almallah is the Director for the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CEI) at Grand Valley State University. She joined Grand Valley State University in 2001, and has been working with CEI for the past 15 years in different roles and capacities. In her current role, she is responsible for providing leadership, vision, strategic direction, tactical execution and operational oversight of the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation with a focus on talent development, expanding and growing entrepreneurship education, and innovative curriculum for the university and the community at large. She provides the necessary leadership and strategic direction for the center’s management, talent development, program development, curriculum development, fundraising, grant solicitation, public relations and community outreach.
Almallah has over 15 years of experience in launching, designing and coordinating unique and transformational entrepreneurial education programs in West Michigan such as the Teen Entrepreneur Summer Academy (TESA), the MWest Challenge, JumpStart, SproutLab, MVE-Lab, the 77IdeaLab, and LendGr. These programs have been instrumental in creating an entrepreneurial pipeline as well as fostering new venture creation in the region. Under her leadership, CEI was awarded the Entrepreneurial Spotlight Challenge in 2017 by the (AACSB) Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business for creating and incubating cutting-edge business innovations and fostering entrepreneurship in the next generation of entrepreneurs. In 2015, she was recognized with the Women’s Community Impact Award by the Grand Valley State University Women’s Commission. She was also recognized with the Practitioner of the Year Award for Women and Minority Entrepreneurship by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship in recognition for her efforts in promoting women entrepreneurs and serving underserved communities through entrepreneurial training and education. Most recently, Almallah was recognized as one of the 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan in 2020 by the Grand Rapids Business Journal!
Shorouq is very active in the entrepreneurial and business community both on a local and national levels. She serves on a number of advisory boards and steering committees including the West Michigan Colleges and Universities Group (WMCUG), Michigan Women Forward, the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE)-Minority & Women Entrepreneurship Special Interest Group, and the West Michigan Association for Women In Science (AWIS). 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. She recently completed her Master of Business Administration from Grand Valley State University in June of 2020.
Dr. Tim Syfert
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.
Kathleen provides support to the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, the Koeze Business Ethics Initiative, and the Family Owned Business Institute. She has an extensive background in leadership roles in the performing arts, non-profit organizations, and a Smithsonian-affiliate museum. Her work translating ideas, information, and events into opportunities for community engagement, outreach, and advocacy has strengthened and supported numerous projects, initiatives, and lifelong learning programs across the country. She brings over 20 years of experience in the design and development of youth and community programming, event management, and business operations to her role at Seidman. She has a BS from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, and multiple certifications from the International Association of Venue Managers. Kathleen returned to Michigan last year and currently serves on the Advisory Council for Michigan Women Forward, where she continues to actively advocate for the health and well-being of young women.
Affiliate Faculty of Instruction
Matt Larson has 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 and was acquired by Hubbub a London based crowdfunding company in June of 2016. 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.
Entrepreneur in Residence
Julian is the newest Entrepreneur in Residence at the Center of Entrepreneurship & Innovation. While studying at the University of Michigan, he co-founded Nomsy, a web, and mobile food discovery platform. He also co-taught the Entrepreneurship Practicum class as a student. After graduating, he moved to Oakland, California to serve thousands of Black & Latinx students thrive in their careers by designing workshops and diversity recruiting at Code2040. Julian has a passion for building community through entrepreneurship and is eager to help others live out the best version of themselves.
Chad is a senior at GVSU with a double major in Finance & Marketing. He is a content creator and LendGR consultant for the CEI. Chad was born in Novi, MI, and later moved to Muskegon. He has a passion for entrepreneurship and was a participant in the 77IdeaLab at the CEI which helped him successfully launch his own business.
Emily Hahn is a lifelong artist and a two-time GVSU student. They hold a B.A. in Illustration, and are currently pursuing a second degree in Graphic Design while doing design work for the Center.
MVE-Lab Project Manager
Julie Cowie has been running community engagement programs at CEI since 2013 after transitioning from a career in Township government. Some of Julie's experiences include; founder and CEO of Rural Gig LLC, a wireless internet service provider, Tetra Therapeutics, a West Michigan company developing new medicines for Alzheimer's disease, and founder of Lakeshore Harvest Country, Southwest Michigan's first agritourism trail and Improvisational Farmer LLC, delivering farm fresh food to customers' doorsteps. Julie's current path has brought her to develop the Michigan Veteran Entrepreneur Lab from a concept to an accelerator program that serves and funds military-connected people and businesses throughout the region.
She holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.
LendGR Program Manager
Henrietta brings over 30 years of experience in a variety of leadership and executive roles, most recently leading WINC for All Women Veterans nonprofit Outreach and Affiliate Services. She also brings first-hand experience in Professional Development and Program Management. Hadley earned her bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University and Leadership Professional Development Business Certificate from the University of Pennsylvania.
CEO Club President