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James Canning

What educational, entrepreneurial or business development programs, if any, have you taken advantage of?
A Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation FastTrac New Venture Program graduate. I also hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Relations from Wayne State University.

Who was your first customer and where did you find them?
Initially I started off being contracted by other public relations and marketing firms to work on projects for their clients, but it was at a Model D Speaker Series event in late 2008 that led to CANNING Communications landing its first official client. It was there that Jason Huvaere of Paxahau Event Services started the dialogue with me about their PR needs for the Movement Electronic Music Festival. Since then my firm has gone on to do PR and Marketing for both the 2009 and 2010 editions of that festival, as well as other Paxahau projects, including Detroit Restaurant Week.

Where have you turned to find capital to grow your company and which institutions have provided it?
I used funds that I had saved from my previous position with the City of Detroit to get started. As the business started to generate revenue, I put some aside to put back into the business.

What do you see in Metro Detroit that other people who live outside the area don't?
I see endless opportunities to be an innovator.

What could local leaders do to help attract and retain more entrepreneurial young people to Metro Detroit?
Offer more opportunities for entrepreneurial young professionals to have a seat in the boardrooms where major decisions about the direction of our region are being made.

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