Michigan Small Business Development Center
The Michigan SBDC provides consulting, training and research to assist small business to launch, grow, transition and innovate.
The Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) enhances Michigan’s economic wellbeing by providing consulting, training and market research for new ventures, existing small businesses and advanced technology companies.
With our headquarters at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, 11 regional offices and more than 20 satellite offices, we provide entrepreneurs and business owners with convenient access to counseling and training throughout Michigan.
The Michigan SBDC is committed to foster and sustain a culture of inclusion through equitable outreach and service to Michigan’s diverse business community.
Jennifer Deamud COO/Associate State Director
Jennifer M. Deamud is a results-orientated leader with over twenty years’ experience encompassing strategic communications, fund development, strategic planning and program implementation. She is currently the COO/Associate State Director of the Michigan Small Business Development hosted by Seidman College of Business. Jennifer has the passion and skillset to look outside of the box for innovative solutions to challenges that arise. She strives to provide a culture where everyone on the team is empowered to maximize their potential.
She holds a Master of Public Administration, a Master of Science in Communications, and a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from Grand Valley State University. She is also a certified business consultant and a graduate of both Grand Valley State University’s Leadership Program and the Grand Rapids Chamber’s Rising Women Leaders Program.
Jennifer thoroughly enjoys mentoring other women and giving back to the community. She serves on a number of boards, including being a member of the ASBDC National Accreditation Team, chair of the Grand Rapids Chamber’s ATHENA Council, board member of the Woman’s Resource Center and Vice President of the Byron Days Festival board. Jennifer also spends time volunteering with Women’s Resource Center mentoring women exiting jail, Byron Center schools and being a Girl Scout troop leader.
Jennifer has received a variety of awards throughout her career, including the YWCA Tribute Award for Community Service, Grand Rapids Business Journal’s “40 Under Forty” award, the LeAnne Moss Service award from Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women and the National Association of Small Business Development Center (ASBDC) Michigan’s State Star Award to name a few.
Latchezara (Zara) Smith Strategic Programs Manager
Zara Smith is a charismatic team player, great at creating and nurturing key partnerships and the successful leadership of cross functional and virtual teams. Her professional background includes business planning and strategy development, program development and management, international business, market research, data analytics and technology strategy.
She is currently the Strategic Programs Manger at the Michigan Small Business Development Center, responsible for the development, implementation and advancement of key network programs, including the SBDC export program, cyber security awareness program and market research services. A global business professional with diverse interests, she has a strong entrepreneurial nature paired with analytical and curious mind. In life and work she strives to support and mentor young professionals, and those at crossroads.
Zara grew up in Bulgaria and moved to the US to complete a Master of Business Administration degree at Grand Valley State University. Zara is a Certified Global Business Professional and holds undergraduate degrees in Business and Finance from the University of National and World Economy in Sofia, Bulgaria. She also holds a Small Business Consultant certification from the Michigan SBDC.
Zara is part of the Grand Rapids World Trade Week planning committee, and currently volunteers her time as Girl Scout Troop Leader, at East Grand Rapids schools, and as instructor for the Junior Achievement program.