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David Kennedy

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
I have two graduate degrees from the University of Michigan that are relevant to the field I work in but besides that I'm pretty motivated to learn independently as needed. In terms of personal development as a business owner, since day one I have been extremely blessed to have a handful of mentors and friends who were willing to allow me to slide into a mentee role with them. Now I intend to do the same for others who wish to start an organization. A lot of what needs to taught to upcoming business owners isn't taught through formal programs or learning institutions.  

Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
My first client was a friend's grandpa and I was the first caregiver of Kennedy Care. The drive was 58 miles one way 2 days/week.

Where did you find your first employee?
My second employee (and many after) were classmates of mine in the schools of Social Work and Public Health at University of Michigan along with undergraduate nursing students. No one could compete with the quality of our quality staff from the onset.  

Have you promoted an intern to employee status, and if so how many times have you done it?
Our current executive director in Ann Arbor is actually looking to bring on our first intern right now. So anyone interested feel free to apply. Our intention through hiring an intern would be to hire them eventually as we continue to expand into other states with some out-of-state operations centralized here in Ann Arbor.   

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
I started everything literally on a shoe string with just a few hundred bucks. So I am yet to take a loan out. I have a complex where I don't like owing people anything - even a bank. My Ann Arbor home care operation has funded three acquisitions, four new offices, and over half a million into our online business. I also pride myself on being resourceful so having money from the get go would have given me an excuse not to be scrappy. But this isn't the case for everyone, I was fortunate to be in a field where one can minimize their start up costs.  

What are some of the advantages to doing business here?
So much of being a business owner is having relationships in your field of work and in your community. I spent most of my life in Michigan and have worked hard to nurture relationships in southeast Michigan that are crucial for the success of my business. I have to be here in order to continue to grow and be the driving vision for the business. My business model now is the continue to expand into other markets across the U.S. using this community focus. We are creating partnerships with entrepreneurial individuals who are already connected locally and will have the ability to quickly identify and connect with the necessary individuals to grow a home care business.

If you could change one thing about this region, what would it be?
What I see again and again are young individuals excited about their idea, product, service, etc. and problems accessing the capital needed to get started. Our region would greatly benefit from an innovative program to provide capital coupled with mentorship for up and coming business owners. Good ideas are all over this region, but it's the overwhelming task of putting things into motion that is difficult for young, want-to-be business owners. I hope that someday I can be this sort of mentor, financial supporter, etc for this unique set of individuals who are eager to get their project started. For now a quick solution would a simplified, state funded, low interest loan program for aspiring business owners.

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