Economic Development, Human Resources, and Small Business & Startups

Exec named state director of Small Business Development Center

December 20, 2018
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J.D. Collins
J.D. Collins. Courtesy Michigan SBDC/Valerie Wojciechowski

A local executive is the new leader of the Grand Rapids-based Michigan Small Business Development Center.

The agency that provides free resources and training for entrepreneurs said yesterday it named J.D. Collins as state director.

Ed Garner, regional director of the West Michigan SBDC, had been serving as interim state director.

“As a Michigander, it brings me a great sense of pride knowing that the SBDC’s work drives statewide economic impact and furthers our reputation as a pre-eminent place to start and grow a business,” Collins said. “I’m eager to serve the small business community and continue our innovative approach to assisting business owners and entrepreneurs.”

The Michigan SBDC has 90 employees that offer companies services such as face-to-face consulting, business training, market research and more.

Last year, the agency counseled 5,820 small businesses.

It is based at Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business in downtown Grand Rapids.

“The MI-SBDC network has significant impact on the growth and sustainability of small businesses throughout Michigan,” said Diana Lawson, dean, GVSU Seidman College of Business. “J.D.’s leadership and vision will enhance our focus on innovation and doing what is best for small businesses.”

Collins’ background

Collins has served in executive positions for a number of Michigan-based organizations.

Previously, he was chief innovation and marketing officer at Modusti, a heavy equipment technology startup in Grand Rapids, where he was a member of the executive team that negotiated a strategic alliance with Caterpillar.

Collins has held several other posts: global strategic leadership positions during a 10-year career at Alticor/Amway Corporation; director of marketing and digital innovation at Spectrum Health; VP of internet banking at Old Kent Bank (now Fifth Third Bank); and associate consultant at Deloitte.

His background also includes work as founder of the venture Trail Cam Solutions and founder of Collins Innovations, an executive leadership and product development firm.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and management from Albion College and an M.B.A. from Notre Dame.

Michigan SBDC

The Michigan Small Business Development Center is a statewide network funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Michigan Economic Development Corporation and regional hosts, including GVSU.

It provides consulting, business education, information-based planning and technology commercialization services to Michigan’s new business ventures, existing small businesses, growing businesses and innovators.

It has 12 regional offices and over 30 satellite offices throughout Michigan.

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