An entrepreneur who’s spent his career starting and building companies is stepping into the leadership position at the statewide Michigan Small Business Development Center based at Grand Valley State University.
GVSU’s Seidman College of Business said yesterday that Keith Brophy is the new state executive director of the center, or MI-SBDC, effective today.
The center is a statewide network of 11 offices that provide services and resources to support emerging, growing and technology-based companies. It is based in Grand Rapdis at GVSU's Seidman Center.
Brophy most recently served as CEO of Ideomed, a mobile health startup in Grand Rapids that was spun out of and backed by Spectrum Health, which recently closed and absorbed the startup.
He succeeds Carol Lopucki, who retired at the end of 2014 after serving in the role for 14 years.
Brophy will oversee program administration at the center: strategy and program development; work with funding entities; manage and communicate organizational impact and metrics; and work with funding entities.
“It is a strong, established program, but programs and strategies continue to evolve to meet the needs of the time,” Brophy said. “There will be a strong emphasis on communication, partner collaboration, management and working with the various partners. I hope to really be a great listener — to the voice of the state businesses through this role and turn it into action. I will be working with a very strong statewide team to give support, leadership, encouragement and a listening ear.”
The center works with a number of key partners: the U.S. Small Business Administration Michigan district office and Washington office; Michigan Economic Development Corp.; and regional host institutions across the state.
Brophy said Lopucki “built up a great organization that has had very clear impact.”
“It is a great legacy I am stepping into, and there is so much work to do as we look to the future as the state continues to evolve,” he said.
Brophy has served on the MI-SBDC advisory board for many years.
He said he served “out of appreciation for what the organization did for me,” referring to using the center's counseling services while launching his first business, Sagestone Consulting.
“There is no question that this is an organization with deep meaning and importance to our state, and it is an organization that can make a difference,” he said.
Brophy began his career at IBM Federal Systems and Systems Integration divisions in Washington, D.C., and he’s served as president of business development at NuSoft Solutions and co-founder of Sagestone Consulting.
With an entrepreneurial background and experience serving on a number of boards, such as the Grand Rapids Smart Zone Local Development Finance Authority, Brophy said he can bring a diverse and statewide perspective to the role.
“I have intersected with many different business models in my entrepreneurial endeavors,” Brophy said. “I also respect, understand and appreciate the importance of economic development. I think through some of my entrepreneurial and life experiences I can bring a cross-sector perspective.”
The MI-SBDC provides services at no cost or low cost to Michigan business owners and entrepreneurs with fewer than 500 employees.
The center offers a range of services: counseling, business plan development, financial management, business workshops, export strategy and technology commercialization.