Trends, products and advances


Founder grows U-Plant Landscape Designs

Sandy Jonick started U-Plant Landscape Designs after hearing from homeowners who would be happy to dig a hole and plant their own flowers and shrubs if someone could just provide a blueprint.

Telemedicine continues to grow in popularity

What seemed like the last alternative for individuals, doctors and nurses just two years ago has become a lifeline over the last year.

Residential solar sees exponential growth

Residential solar saw a steep decline in installations early in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the U.S., but POWERHOME SOLAR, a North Carolina residential solar company with strong business ties in Michigan, reported exponential growth last year.

Gentex partners with Simplenight to expand its connected car offering

Gentex is partnering with an infotainment technology company to offer another connected in-vehicle technology to the automotive industry.

GHSP debuts technology upgrades for safety, pathogen reduction

A provider of mechanical and electromechanical systems for the automotive and home appliance markets is debuting upgrades in several of its technology offerings to improve vehicle safety and reduce virus exposure in cars and the home.

Applied Imaging acquires managed print services company

Applied Imaging acquired Lasers Resource, a Grand Rapids managed print services specialist.

Calvin University includes high school students in its Spanish program

Students at Grandville Calvin Christian Schools can earn a minor in Spanish at Calvin University.

Site gives helpers a helping hand

A team of West Michigan entrepreneurs recently launched an online platform designed to empower people to give and receive help in all types of situations.

Street Chef Shaw blends Swahili, Mexican cooking

Kirel Shaw and Myke Worthem have been friends since middle school, and now they are having the time of their lives operating a food business together that focuses on giving back.

Former marketing executive creates data science firm

Despite a rocky start in early 2020, a new West Michigan data and technology firm is ready to deliver advanced data science to clients and help maximize the value of their data in the new year.

Company meets pandemic need with free monitoring licenses

As coronavirus cases continue to mount daily, a local company is recognizing the need to extend free services to health care facilities.

Annual coding event draws more than 2,300 students

More than 2,300 West Michigan third, fourth and fifth grade students from 24 schools learned computer programming basics during West Michigan Tech Talent’s virtual Hour of Code event.

Tech company using football simulators to prepare athletes

Maybe you don’t need a team to play the game of football.

Hospitals administer first round of vaccines

Spectrum Health announced it received its first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on the morning of Dec. 14 and administered the vaccine to its first string of team members

X-Rite digital workflow tools to help manufacturers produce Pantone Color of the Year

Pantone chose two colors of the year for 2021: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating (a yellow shade), and X-Rite Inc. is offering digital tools that will help manufacturers accurately produce the colors.

TES America in touch with pandemic needs

As the world continues to battle COVID-19, Holland-based TES America already is at work with new technology to ensure future pandemics are mitigated or avoided altogether. 

Finnish tech company sells brain mapping system to Spectrum Health

MEGIN, based in Helsinki, Finland, announced the sale of functional brain imaging device TRIUX neo to Spectrum Health.

Comcast RISE initiative launches second phase

As part of a $100 million diversity, equity and inclusion initiative that Comcast launched this year, the corporation is now taking applications for the second phase of a marketing and technology resource and makeover program for small businesses owned by people of color.

Local Salvation Army pilots MessageWrap tech for Red Kettle donations

The local Salvation Army division is harnessing a Grand Rapids company’s technology to allow customers to make fast and easy contactless donations to the nonprofit’s Red Kettle Campaign in the checkout lane at two area grocery stores.

Gentex partners on in-car payment technology

Gentex is partnering with a transactional vehicle solutions provider on a technology that will allow more drivers to pay for gas and essentials directly from their vehicle.

Company seizes upon pandemic to tout children’s app

Whether it be in-person, virtual or through hybrid learning, students constantly have had to adapt to the disruption of their learning environment.

Woodworker turns hobby into business after job loss

After losing his job due to the pandemic, Kristian Woods decided it was time to turn his longtime passion into a serious business.

Social platform connects investors, food startups

A new social media platform based in West Michigan is not for entertainment, but for building a network that could lead to early-stage investments.

Priority Health to offer out-of-state behavioral health coverage

Priority Health announced it expanded its partnership with telehealth network MDLIVE to offer out-of-state behavioral health coverage to its Medicare and individual market members beginning Jan. 1.

Pro-Vision partnership provides internet connectivity, video recording solutions for school buses

Pro-Vision Video Systems of Byron Center announced it partnered with Kajeet, an IoT connectivity, software and hardware solutions company, to provide internet connectivity and video recording solutions for school buses.