Putting the “Ability” in Disability

The Successes of Entrepreneur James R. Albright

Rain poured down his face as he waited outside an entrance on Grand Valley’s campus. He was cold and wet. The broken handicap button separated him and his wheelchair from the dry inside. At this point, he knew something had to change.

This describes the event which prompted James R. Albright (Jim), to develop Albright Insights. The technology driven problem-solving organization focuses on creating cutting-edge mobile accessibility and navigation applications. Albright Insights’ first project is a mobile application called XcessAble; a wordplay referring to the handicap accessibility features it provides. Architectural specifications for a building are detailed in the application database: accessible building entrances, location of restrooms, heights of faucets and more. As a user accesses the application, the database of specifications is cross-referenced against the user’s physical capabilities to deliver a custom layout of the building. The mobile application, though a powerful tool, is only the first step to raise awareness for people with disabilities.


Uptown Kitchen

Food-preneurs Get a Kitchen

Her idea stemming from a business class at Calvin College, Kelly LeCoy soon acquired the seed capital needed to create a kitchen facility that helps food inspired entrepreneurs create their own culinary venture.

The National Restaurant Association estimates that roughly two-thirds of each dollar earned is allocated to food, beverages and labor for a restaurant. This figure does not include cost of facilities, equipment or the learning-curve needed to meet regulatory standards.


Incubating Green Ideas

Michigan Green Technology and Entrepreneurship Academy

It’s rare that a university professor, postdoc or PhD student would be found listening to lectures in the confines of a classroom, yet it perfectly describes the scene at the inaugural Michigan Green Technology and Entrepreneurship Academy. Green TEA, as it is commonly referred, is an innovative program designed to launch cleantech ideas out of the university lab.


Is It the Horse or the Jockey?

Photo Credit David Chandler
The Value of Talent In New Enterprises in West Michigan

It is often asked in venture investing whether you bet on the horse (the market and the idea) or bet on the jockey (the manager and the management team). The story of Pat Day may help answer the question.

Pat Day is a jockey legend in horse racing. Before his retirement in 2005, Pat Day had close to $298,000,000 in winnings, which ranks No. 1 in lifetime earnings for jockeys. He was the all-time leading money rider at Churchill Downs and Keeneland. In the Breeders Cup, the world series of horse racing, Day came first or second in 25 percent of the races. Day was so dominant at Churchill Downs that bettors would often bet on any horse with Day in the saddle and the odds would decline because of the Day followers.


NEU 3: Letter from the Executive Director

Letter from the Director

After five months serving as the Executive Director at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at Grand Valley State University, I can write this introduction with a sense of direction that I did not have in the previous issue. It is appropriate that this issue focuses on talent as a component of the entrepreneur ecosystem. We have no higher calling at CEI than to create entrepreneurial talent.

For the purpose of this introduction, talent is defined in two ways:
1. The individuals and groups that innovate the ideas that become new enterprises
2. The managers and business people that help take the ideas from thought to reality