Gwendolyn Monangai

Name: Jonathan Senior Care
Location: Cedar Knolls, NJ

The Silver Tsunami is coming.

It’s estimated that by 2050, the population aged ≥65 will increase by 40 million to represent 20% of the US population – a veritable silver tsunami.  And as the population ages, so does the prevalence of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease – a devastating condition that robs people of their independence and dignity.

Responding to this looming crisis in a uniquely person-centered approach is the business idea of our latest Quick Pitch Competition winner, Gwendolyn Monangai.  A graduate of UCEDC’s Entrepreneurship 101 workshop, Gwen took first place (and a $2,000 cash award) in the business pitch competition sponsored by Capital One Bank.

Gwen’s start-up is Jonathan Senior Care, a residential dementia care home with a targeted location in Cedar Knolls.  The 20-bed facility will be based on the practices and principles of Dementia Village in the Netherlands.  That facility allows its residents full access to a sprawling, but safely secured village-like campus.

Gwen comes to this humanistic philosophy of care with a solid foundation in healthcare and professional certifications.  After she worked her way through college as a nursing assistant, Gwen embarked on a long, successful career in pharmaceutical sales and training.   She’s also a Certified Assisted Living Administrator (CALA) and a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP).

As confident Gwen was in her concept and ability to successfully implement it, she knew she needed some help with the financial side of the business when she enrolled in our Entrepreneurship 101 6-week workshop.   The classroom work and ongoing coaching and support from Erich Peter, UCEDC’s director of training, has helped Gwen tighten-up her projections and identify a sound pricing structure.

Gwen views this ambitious project as the perfect intersection of her entrepreneurial spirit and moral compass – satisfying both her drive to create a business and her commitment to doing good in the world. Getting started has been particularly challenging as the State’s regulations for Dementia Care have been under review for over two years.  But with final regs due to be published by the end of the year, Gwen is ready to go full-steam ahead with a projected opening in September 2018.

“UCEDC has been a source of strength for me. It’s given me a mentor in Erich and the confidence that financially, I can make my vision a reality. Knowing that beyond the bank, they too are a potential source of funding gave me the calm I needed to refine my project to where we are now. I can’t wait to get started,” says Gwen.

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