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Brent King: Student Turned Entrepreneur

It’s unusually quiet at the King residence. Brent King isn’t working on one of his two businesses, and his wife and business partner has taken their two young daughters to the park. He reflects on his time at Algoma University and how it prepared him for where he is today.

“From a young age, I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I needed to prepare myself academically. My brother and dad both graduated from Sault College, so I started there.”

Upon graduation from the two-year business diploma program, King started his first business with a fellow graduate. Although an exciting venture, King, thirsty for more knowledge, sold his share of the company in order to focus on acquiring a degree.

“The pathways program was great. It gave me transfer credits, and through careful course scheduling, including summer and evening courses, it only took me two incremental years at Algoma University to complete a BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) in Economics in 2009.”

King absolutely fell in love with studying business and economics at Algoma.

“Classes were smaller at Algoma. The personal attention pushed me farther. Dr. Krishna Kadiyala was a true mentor; encouraging me to complete a master’s program.”

King went on to complete a master’s degree at the University of Westminster, in London, England.

“Other students in the program were having difficulties in the global economics courses, but Dr. Kadiyala prepared me so well due to the level of care and personal attention that I received.”

While studying in London, King travelled extensively.  He also met his now wife, Mandy, on the first day of classes.

“Years later, after getting engaged to Mandy, I moved to Taiwan and enrolled in the National Taiwan Normal University for Mandarin language training and through immersion, I became semi-fluent. Most importantly, I was able to communicate with Mandy’s family members who didn’t speak any English. …Mandy and I are a team for everything; in business, in parenting, and in life.”

Now residing in Oakville, King and his wife are running two businesses together. Three years ago, they founded Royal Oak Property Developments Ltd.; a residential property developer with projects in the Niagara Region.

“We’re very excited about launching our newest project, which is now in the final approval stages. We’re working towards a fall 2017 construction start date for a 40-unit adult lifestyle residential community.”

Their other business, Royal Oak Global Trading Ltd., is a global commodity supplier, specializing in the exportation of Canadian softwood lumber to Asia.

“Mandy handles customer acquisitions and customer service and I handle procurement and logistics. We’ve found a niche selling to end-users and small local distributors, cutting out most of the intermediaries. We grossed over $1 million in sales during our first year of operations and are on track to double that this year.”

King was the first of his family to attend University. When King entered Algoma University he was awarded an entrance scholarship for achieving the highest academic average of all college transfer students that year. He also graduated from Algoma University with the highest overall academic average in the BBA Economics Programme.

“I would choose Algoma U over again hands down. I felt a really deep connection with Algoma University. The personal care was amazing, and if I hadn’t studied there, I might not be on the path I’m on today. I loved what I studied and I love what I’m doing. Since I found a passion for what I’m doing, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Next up for King, he plans to open a real estate brokerage, to increase the saleability of his property development projects and to widen brand recognition for Royal Oak. He’s also hoping to find time to get some sleep, as his two businesses and two daughters Lily, 4, and Lucy, 2, keep him quite busy.

Written by: Nadine Robinson

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