0 comments on “Design Briefs: Diversity in Tech”

Design Briefs: Diversity in Tech

On Thursday evening, designers, entrepreneurs and community members will gather at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) to connect, share ideas and explore what it means for industries to be diverse for Design Breifs: Diversity in Tech. Kimberly Wolting heads the American Institute of Graphics Arts West Michigan Design for Good initiative and collaborated in part with the GRAM’s Director of Learning and Audience engagement John Carfagno to coordinate the event.

“We have always been trying to do good for the community, but we were maybe not reaching out to the community in as many places as we could have, ” Wolting said. “We are really making an effort this year to make a wider reach … to make sure that we are including everyone in these conversations.”

0 comments on “Social Enterprise: Ambrose at WMCAT”

Social Enterprise: Ambrose at WMCAT

This is the first in an ongoing series about community leaders in West Michigan implementing entrepreneurial skills in youth education.

Like any business, commercial screen printer Ambrose strives to provide their customers with a quality product at competitive pricing in a timely fashion. But something sets Ambrose apart–the company is run by five teen apprentices as part of the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT) Social Enterprise Initiative.

Adam Weiler started Ambrose eight years ago as a means to fund an after school art and design program at the Holland Area Arts Council. Weiler graduated from Central College in Pela, Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in visual arts and mathematics. He was inspired by the experience of having a difficult time applying his skill set after college and sought to create a program that would better equip high school students to make beneficial decisions early on.

0 comments on “The Business Model Canvas”

The Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas was first developed by Swiss business theorist Alexander Osterwalder in 2008 and has been widely used in business education ever since. GVSU integrated the canvas into the B.B.A curriculum in 2010, teaching it in Management 330, Management 495 and Business 671.

Using a visual chart, the business model canvas ties together the nine basic building blocks of running a business: value proposition, customer segments, distribution channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partners and cost structure. How does the business model canvas differ from a business plan?  Where a traditional business plan is based on the unchallenged assumption of the success of that plan, the business model canvas operates on hypothesis and testing.

0 comments on “5×5 Night Follow Up: Melanie Koops of Werth Rack”

5×5 Night Follow Up: Melanie Koops of Werth Rack

The Werth Rack was the winner of 5×5 Night in November 2015.

“The worst thing is that you could look back and say, ‘oh, I wish I had tried, at least I could know if it would have been successful or not.’” Melanie Koops said.

Koops is a third year physical therapy student at GVSU and the co-founder of Werth Wrack, an innovative walker storage system that reduces rehab storage space by 50% and cuts cost to both hospitals and patients.

0 comments on “Five gifts for entrepreneurs”

Five gifts for entrepreneurs

There are plenty of ways to give the gift of inspiration to the entrepreneur in your life this holiday season, whether their business is in full swing or  they are just getting started.

  1. Small Business Classes at GROW

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Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW) offers a range of small business classes, from the foundations of getting started, to branding and selling. For someone who is looking to dip their toes into the entrepreneurial waters,  GROW’s introduction to the ins and outs of running a business, Start Smart, runs only $25. For those who are ready to dig their heals in and get serious, the Small Business Growth and Planing Series (GPS) offers a series of three clusters comprised of three classes each. Clusters are priced $60 a piece and include Business Basics, Marketing Strategies and Financial Awareness.

2. Membership to The Factory.

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Give the gift of a centrally located work space and professional network with a membership to The Factory. As Grand Rapids’ premier co-working space, The Factory is complete with conference rooms, Skype areas, office supplies, a full kitchen, windows that overlook downtown and flood the work space with natural light, and the best part? A community of over 90 like-minded professionals, including entrepreneurs, small businesses and freelancers. Monthly memberships range from $30-$275/month.

3. The Founder’s Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman

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There are more than just financial risks and rewards on the line when starting your own venture. The Founder’s Dilemmas uses quantifiable research as well as first person accounts from the founders of innovative startups such as Twitter and Pandora to offer guidance through all of the main decisions an entrepreneur may be faced with when embarking on a start up journey.

4. Headspace Subscription

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Chasing your dreams is stressful and nothing can ease the many burdens of start-up life like a little support. Billed as a “gym membership for your mind,” Headspace is an app that gives subscribers access to ten minutes of guided meditation a day. Meditation has been proven to decrease stress while increasing focus and creativity. Headspace makes integrating the practice into daily life simple, and is perfect for helping your entrepreneur get through the hard times. Subscriptions vary from $12.99/monthly, to $7.99/month yearly or $6.24/month for two years.

5. Gift Card to The Bitter End


When entrepreneurs are just starting out, they often have to take time to work on their ventures anywhere they can get it. The Bitter End is Grand Rapid’s only 24/7 coffee shop. As a popular hub for late night studying with a drink menu a mile long, it is a tried and true place to fuel up, hunker down and get to work, whether it be first thing in the morning or the middle of the night.



0 comments on “Finding your space”

Finding your space

As the entrepreneurial community in Grand Rapids continues to grow, several organizations have stepped up to match ambitions with the facilities and opportunities to achieve them. Whether you need tooling to develop your product, are ready for retail space or are simply looking for an affordable office to work out of, Grand Rapids has plenty to offer.

0 comments on “5×5 Night follow up: Ben Logan of Ben’s Buzz Box”

5×5 Night follow up: Ben Logan of Ben’s Buzz Box

Ben Logan was the winner of 5×5 Night in September 2015

It is no secret that the fate of the honey bee is tied closely with our own. One third of all the world’s food is dependent on pollination by the the honey bee.

“Honey bees are the pillars of our food system,”said Anna Marie Fauvel, a representative of the Michigan Beekeepers Association and faculty adviser for the GVSU Beekeeping Student Organization.

The honey bee population is currently in crisis, with hive populations declining at an average annual rate of 33% since 2006.

0 comments on “5×5 Night follow up: Liz Bartlett of KNITit”

5×5 Night follow up: Liz Bartlett of KNITit

Liz Bartlett was the winner of 5×5 Night in July 2015

“I believe that when I get to the next level and am vertically integrated and manufacturing,” says Liz Bartlett. “I can bring a lot of jobs, not just to Michigan, not just to Grand Rapids, but to downtown.”

Bartlett has big plans for her company, KNITit, which specializes in 3D weft knit product and was awarded $5,000 in investment capital at 5×5 Night in July.