GVSU businesses partners in the New Economy

March 28, 2011
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There has been much discussion of late on what constitutes the “New Economy” and what will make businesses successful in the same.  We’ve been inundated with ill-defined words and phrases — mass globalization, intrapreneuring, 21st century job skills, disruptive innovation, entrepreneur ecosystems, pre-commercialization — that not only leave us questioning what they mean but how we are supposed to do anything about it.

At Grand Valley State University, we’d like to contend that many in the business community know all too well what the New Economy feels like. Every day you are challenged by the rate of information flow and overload, the flatness of the world, personnel and personal effectiveness, liquidity (or lack thereof), breakdowns in advancing innovations and commercialization, and speed to action. Grand Valley is here to help.

The university has the strategic imperative to be an essential generator of economic activity and job creation. Both academic and administrative programs are measured by their ability to make positive statewide impact through its services, scholarship and research.

Grand Valley’s primary service is preparing more than 24,000 students for 21st century work skills in communication, collaboration and critical and creative thinking. It is through the privilege to facilitate the development of talent that the university realizes the greatest economic influence. Our students and alumni are your employees and employers. They stay here (88 percent of Grand Valley grads remain in Michigan), and provide the essential ingredient for the new economy: the ability to think.

Next, Grand Valley’s faculty and staff engage in scholarship and research, which supplies data and information central to making informed business decisions, as well as discoveries and inventions seeking business partnerships to realize commercialization. Both the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence and the Technology Commercialization Office make Grand Valley intellectual assets available to businesses.

Last, Grand Valley invests in outreach — those centers, institutes, department and agencies that directly support the business community, particularly through tough transitional times. Together, we are undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive business support networks in Michigan. We provide specialization to increase your business planning skills, take out costs, go global, meet competitive challenges, innovate, dialogue ethics, commercialize, find talent, incubate, analyze and strategize markets, and build a business to last through generations of family ownership. 

Commercialization support:

The Padnos College of Engineering & Computer Science: GVSU’s engineering faculty and students support businesses in new product development from early stage engineering design through prototyping to production ready, generally at no or low cost. 

Design, Optimization, Evaluation and Redesign Center: The DOER Center matches potential business projects with capable faculty and students. Work is completed on a fee for service basis. 

The Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation: High-growth entrepreneurs can get direction and connections to ensure great ideas are converted to actionable plans for commercialization. The CEI also works to link entrepreneurs to available funding.

Michigan Alternative and Renewal Energy Center: MAREC supports the commercialization of innovative technology with companies involved in alternative, clean and renewable energy sources. MAREC provides incubation facilities and is the representative organization for the Muskegon SmartZone.

The Small Business Technology and Development Center: SBTDC provides counseling, training, research and advocacy for new business ventures, existing small businesses and innovative technology companies. Services include one-on-one business counseling, educational workshops, market research and access to a resource library.

The West Michigan Science & Technology Initiative: WMSTI’s mission is to advance innovation and support the commercialization of life science products and technologies. WMSTI provides high-tech incubation facilities and is the representative organization for the Grand Rapids SmartZone.

Globalization support:

The Van Andel Global Trade Center: VAGTC helps businesses learn what it means to go global. Whether you’re thinking about opening a new market, figuring out customs compliance and international regulations, or looking for overseas suppliers, the VAGTC can help.

U.S. Department of Commerce Export Assistance Center: EAC provides research, counsel and advocacy in the export process.

Access to and development of talent:

Career Services: This is the essential GVSU hub for businesses recruiting interns, co-op students, or full-time employees.

Continuing Education: Connects businesses with the resources of the university to create and provide training solutions.

Leadership effectiveness:

The Family-Owned Business Institute: FOBI’s mission is to promote, preserve, influence, and impact family businesses through quality research and information services.

Business Ethics Center: BEC conducts seminars and workshops in business ethics, values clarification, multi-generational understanding and conflict-resolution.  Four times a year, BEC conducts Business Roundtables to discuss issues of universal and local concern.

Sustainable Community Development Initiative: Business leaders have access to sustainability information and data, regional partnerships, resource sharing opportunities and the extensive expertise of the SCDI team.

To learn more, check out: www.gvsu.edu/businessresource/service.htm

Linda Chamberlain is the executive director of GVSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

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