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Jerry Kennedy

Anadarko, OK

INDUSTRY: FOOD SERVICES
BUSINESS: DELAWARE NATION ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (DNEDA)
YEAR FOUNDED: 2009
PROGRAM: SBA EMERGING LEADERS INITIATIVE, OKLAHOMA CITY, 2013
“When I joined DNEDA, I developed a plan that started with creating relationships. If we were going to create jobs, we needed to grow profitable businesses. Our small team needed help.”

BUSINESS OVERVIEW

The Delaware Nation launched the Delaware Nation Economic Development Authority (DNEDA) in 2009 with the goal of creating profitable businesses that would provide employment to Delaware tribe members and citizens of Anadarko, a city of 6,700 known as the “Indian Capital of the Nation.” The poverty rate among Native Americans in Anandarko, including the 1,500 members of the Delaware Nation, is over thirty percent. NDEDA faced a challenging start. When Jerry Kennedy was hired as CEO in 2011, DNEDA had only three employees, was losing money, and had made little progress toward the mission of fostering economic prosperity through entrepreneurial ventures.

CREATIVE GROWTH

DNEDA reached a turning point when Jerry enrolled in the SBA’s Emerging Leaders program, which utilizes Interise’s StreetWise ‘MBA’™ curriculum. The program guided Kennedy and his colleagues through an analysis of their businesses and helped them inventory their resources. They formulated a three-year growth plan that involved an initial strategy of partnering with bigger, more successful businesses until they were ready to take on primary positions in new contracts, and eventually purchase one of their partner companies. “It was a tremendous help,” Kennedy says. “Without that guidance we would have gone down the wrong path.” Today, with $42 million in revenues and 300 employees, DNEDA is meeting its goal of providing local jobs and helping to bolster the regional economy. In its new three-year plan, the company aims to reach 100 million in revenues and 600 employees by diversifying relationships in new sectors.