Help BizStream Academy Inspire More of West Michigan

By Chris Hamm On October 17, 2017

Help BizStream Academy Inspire More of West Michigan
It’s no secret that the tech industry is growing rapidly. Companies are having a hard time finding qualified talent. Add to that an increased demand, specifically for Web Developers (job growth is expected to increase by 27% by 20241), and it’s easy to see why employers are concerned about how they are going to keep their development teams full. The demand in West Michigan alone outstrips supply by more than 4:12.

With this in mind BizStream Founder, Mark Schmidt decided to start BizStream Academy (Academy), a summer code bootcamp, in 2012. More than this practical consideration, however, Mark has a deep passion for technology and expanding young minds. We hope that Academy will inspire young people to become future technology leaders in West Michigan. It is the combination of that passion and the awareness of the thriving tech industry, that still drives Academy today.

Over the last five years Academy has grown from a single session of eight students in 2012 to serving nearly 50 students in 2017 alone. We have grown from a single staff member to five mentors, an administrative coordinator, a full Board of Directors, and a 501(c)3 non-profit certification. 

We are proud of  the growth we’ve experienced over the last five years and we are excited to continue expanding! BizStream Academy has been very successful in reaching students in the areas closest to the BizStream office, but we hope to benefit all of West Michigan in the near future.  

We Need Your Help

Until recently BizStream has been Academy’s only sponsor. In the past, BizStream had been the sole provider of all expenses, personnel, physical resources, and classroom space. That extends to everything from allowing BizStream team members to take paid time to plan and teach Academy classes to completely remodeling a section of their office space to serve as an official BizStream Academy room, which provides more amenities and accommodates a greater number of students.

In order to continue to grow BizStream Academy needs to find additional resources. Many of those resources  will be in the form of volunteers from the community. Academy wants to benefit the entire West Michigan developer community and we want to involve that community as we begin the next leg of our journey. Developing a network of volunteers is one of our top priorities and will have the greatest impact on decreasing our operating budget while, simultaneously, providing opportunities for growth.

Academy also needs financial resources to continue growing. Right now, with the exception of a few old laptops that serve as loaners, students are required to bring their own computers to class. Some students bring Macs while others bring Windows machines. Some students have computers that are in good shape, while others are struggling with hand-me-downs. We would love to be able to provide a computer for every student to use while they are in class. This would greatly aid in the learning process as all students would be on equal footing in terms of equipment.

These are just two examples of the kind of support we are looking for as we seek to make Academy a truly community-centric program.


Keep reading to discover how can you help: 


As we’ve mentioned one of the biggest needs we have is volunteers. If you are interested in mentoring or donating your time in other ways, please contact us

Personal Donations

If you don’t have time to spare but you are willing to support BizStream Academy financially, please take a look at the various ways you can donate to Academy. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization your donation is 100% tax exempt. Find out how to give to BizStream Academy by visiting our Support Page.

Corporate Sponsorship

Maybe you or your business has an interest in becoming a BizStream Academy Sponsor. These are the people we rely on the most when it comes to financial support. Whether you can offer a lot or a little, every dollar goes toward making sure Academy students have a real world glimpse  into an industry and career path that offers well paying jobs in a flourishing industry.  Check out the BizStream Academy Sponsorships Prospectus here. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization your donation is 100% tax exempt.

2017 Sponsors

Special thanks to our 2017 sponsors!

Title Sponsor


Nimble Storage
Grand Rapids Technology Source


Spectrum Health
Dan Walker

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About the author

Chris got his degree in music education in 2006. Over the years he has directed musicals, taught voice lessons, and managed $10 million in sales for an artisan bread company. After becoming disenchanted with jobs that were personally unfulfilling and taking him away from his family, he decided to turn his programming hobby into a career. Becoming a developer means the opportunity to integrate his creative roots with his technological passions. He thinks BizStream is the perfect place to do that.

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