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Keo & Associates, Inc.

18286 Wyoming
Detroit, Michigan 48221

Chris Onwuzurike

How long has Keo Associates been in business?
Keo and Associates, Inc have been around since 1994 (17 years)

Why did you set up your company?
Keo was set up as a State of Michigan corporation to provide full service Construction Management, General Contracting and Design-Build services. The formation of Keo was anchored on strong philosophy of relationship building and consistent strive to provide superior services to all our clients.

How has the business been so far?
Keo as a Detroit headquartered business has experienced gradual but steady progressive growth over its 17 years in construction business. Just like other area construction companies, we experienced down turns within the last few years. However, we have managed to maintain most of our key personnel throughout these rough periods but not without understanding and concession on some benefits from our employees. 

What is the biggest challenge facing small businesses like yours?
The biggest challenge facing small businesses is lack of staying power; not knowing the duration of this economic slide; lack of necessary tools such as finance to maintain buoyancy and limited opportunities.

What do you think needs to be done to encourage the growth of entrepreneurship in Detroit and Southeast Michigan?
In the case of Detroit, there cannot be a singular solution to encourage growth of entrepreneurship, rather multiple solutions with full engagement of all stakeholders including communities within the Southeast region and beyond along with area media. 

How would you assess the current economic climate?
The current economic climate is very distressed. It appears that many people did not anticipate this economy to dip this low and still dipping.

How many people work for you?
We currently have 13 people on staff, while we previously had 18

What should the leadership in Detroit do to help small businesses in this tough economy?
Detroit leaders should continue to work on relationship building with surrounding communities, continue to work on improving livability issues and ensure that Detroit residents and Detroit headquartered/small  businesses are giving unwavering opportunity to construction projects. 

As an African American business owner do you find it hard to compete for other businesses?
Yes, limited opportunities leads to limited resources in any competitive environment. A change in mindset is required from both African American business owners and Majority business owners to enhance improved working relationship.

What's your advice for young and emerging entrepreneurs?
Today's young entrepreneurs must have the ability to utilize all of the following: strategic thinking, vision, determination, resilience and hard work.

Bankole Thompson
The Michigan Chronicle

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