GLIMA West Awards First Scholarship

April 16, 2002
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ALLENDALE — A trade association representing Internet and information technology professionals in West Michigan hopes to help seed future talent for the industry through financial assistance to college students.

And last week, GLIMA West — the Interactive Association of Michigan — showed it meant business by awarding its first-ever scholarship of $2,500 on Jan. 27.

The stipend was directed to a student enrolled in Grand Valley State University's e-commerce certification course.

The association hopes to award a scholarship on an annual basis, and perhaps expand the initiative to offer similar financial assistance to students at other colleges in Michigan.

GLIMA's president, Jim Barry, told the Business Journal that helping professionals further their career is part of the mission for the year-old association.

"Hopefully we can spread the wings and spread the wealth," Barry said. "It fits right into our genre of what one of our goals is to do, and that's to educate and network and build bridges for people to increase their talent pool of people in West Michigan."

GLIMA West, since its formation a year ago, has grown to 168 members representing 55 companies. The association recently affiliated with Automation Alley, an association representing high-tech firms in Oakland County.

Barry — who is vice-president of sales for the Internet advertising firm Adtegrity.com in Grand Rapids — said the scholarship also reflects the association's appreciation for the support it has received in the business community.

"This scholarship is our small way of giving something back," he said.

The GVSU e-commerce certification program, consisting of four classes offered online and through face-to-face instruction at the Pew Campus in downtown Grand Rapids, was launched in 2001.

The program is aimed largely at graduate students who are handling the job of developing, implementing and managing e-commerce strategies for their employers. The course is open to those who hold or are working toward an MBA, or would otherwise qualify for GVSU's MBA program.

Fourteen students enrolled in the program in 2001.

Twelve have enrolled in the 2002 course that begins in the spring.

The intensive, 6-month program, costing $5,500, focuses on developing and implementing e-commerce marketing strategies, as well as interfacing with buyers and sellers online, developing a Web site and conducting research on the Internet.

The idea is to teach people already into their careers to use age-old fundamental business principles and apply them in today's digital age.

Students work in teams with area firms to analyze, develop and implement e-commerce marketing activities.

Participating companies receive Internet strategy reports, an e-commerce action plan, and a custom-designed Web site at the end of the term.

"It's a very different kind of program the way we run it," said Paul Lane, chairman of the GVSU Marketing Department and an instructor in the e-commerce program.

"Students clients and faculty are challenged to work together with the need to stay current as they develop Internet marketing strategies for their client organizations."

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