The Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation are 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.
Ashley Jefferson is the newest hire for the Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation as the Office Coordinator. Previously, she was working at the School of Engineering as their Academic Secretary for 5 years! She’s also a GVSU alumnus with a Bachelor’s in Public Administration. She enjoys dancing, traveling and going to brunch! Ashley enjoys being a part of the GVSU administrative team and is very excited to now be a part of the Seidman team.
Entrepreneur in Residence
Thomas Coke is an entrepreneur, lawyer, branding geek, and alternative finance/fintech guru. Currently, he helps businesses launch, fundraise and go to market as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at GVSU, serves as COO of Dalorum and is helping his son found an NCAA Name, Image, and Likeness business while founding NFT app VarsityGems. Formerly with startups VerifyValid and CrowdFund Connect, CampusStarter/Hubbub, SafeWhistle, and BitLyft (4 exits, 1 solid success, 1 failure) and an advisor to over ten startups, he loves helping launch ventures. He has also been a part of, as a speaker, lecturer, and judge, a number of college entrepreneurship competitions and programs. He holds a BA in Econ from Kalamazoo and a JD from MSU College of Law and will be pursuing an MBA in the near future.
Jowei Yek is an international student from Malaysia. He is currently pursuing a Professional Master of Business Administration and a Professional Master of Arts in Social Innovation at Grand Valley State University. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from GVSU in Advertising and Public Relations with a minor in Psychology in 2020.
As an undergraduate, Yek was an active member of the international student community through Padnos International Center and the Bringing Together the World student organization. His other notable experiences include creating a brand-new social media presence for the Fall Arts Celebration hosted by the GVSU Office of the President and managing the transactional email production for Amway North America. Yek is fluent in English and four different Chinese languages including Mandarin.
MVE‐Lab Lead Instructor and Ambassador
Michael Hyacinthe is an 8-year United States Navy Veteran who served as a U.S. Navy Seabee combat warfare specialist. His military service took him around the world to Iceland, Guam, Europe and the Middle East. Michael is a serial entrepreneur focusing on social enterprises. He is the co-founder of Has Heart an organization that provides creative outlets for veterans and. He is also the CEO and founder of Wimage, a children’s media company that produces educational and entertainment content to help kids learn
Michael is the Executive producer of a children’s television show called Wimee’s Words. Wimee’s Words is currently seen on PBS stations in Michigan and soon to be launching in New York City and LA PBS stations.
Michael truly believes that creativity is a very powerful tool that can help Veterans heal and children learn. His entrepreneurial Journey has gained him national recognition as a top 30 under 30 entrepreneur by INC magazine and most recently he was recognized as a Lakeshore innovator of the year honoree. He is originally from the Bronx New York but now resides in Grand Rapids with his family. Michael is also a proud GVSU graduate.
MVE-Lab Co Facilitator
Pamela Alderman is an artist entrepreneur with more than fifteen years of experience running a sustainable art business and a nonprofit. She specializes in social practice art, which includes monthly veteran art workshops. After a decade of experience as an ArtPrize artist, Pamela co- developed a new, veteran-specific ArtPrize venue, along with coaching twenty-one veteran artists at various levels to help them achieve success. Combining her abundant passion with innovative concepts, Pamela’s interactive art has left an indelible healing imprint locally and nationally. When not forming collaborative partnerships, Pamela also enjoys taking her young grandson to the botanical gardens—where they get on their hands and knees, after briefly viewing the famed Chihuly glass, to drop pebbles down a storm drain.
LendGR Program Manager
Ken Miguel-Cipriano is an immigrant from Peru and a long time Southside resident. They attended the University of Michigan where they got their first taste of an entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Ken has worked for the government, startups, and design agencies on both coasts. They enjoy big data sets, process improvement, and all things art & design. In their free time, Ken helps run a neighborhood based all-gender soccer league known as the GR Champs League, where they captain FC Southside aka The Southside Squirtle Squad.
In their free time, you can catch Ken on the road with their bike chasing after Strava KOM’s, testing the cargo limits of their E-bike, or catching a film at Studio Park. Ken’s greatest claim to fame is when they pitched a startup idea to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian while in an Ann Arbor bar in the early 2010’s.
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.
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.