Ken Sim's Story
Born, Raised, and Living in Vancouver
Vancouver is my family home. My parents immigrated to Canada in 1967 with three young children in tow. They had another daughter and then I was born at St. Vincent’s Hospital.
We lived in South Vancouver and attended the local public schools. Both parents worked to support our growing family.
On my 15th birthday – the first day I was legally allowed to work – I got my first official job: graveyard shift janitor at Wendy’s restaurant making minimum wage. For the next seven years I worked evenings and weekends to help out the family and pay for my university education.
A Large, Multicultural Family
My wife, Teena Gupta, and I married in 1998. Our four boys range in age from nine to 16 and they attend Trafalgar Elementary and Kitsilano Secondary Schools. We have a close, extended family – there are 26 of us – who live nearby.
A Career Foundation Built at UBC
After graduating from the UBC Sauder School of Business in 1993, I earned my CPA while working at KMPG, and moved on to investment/merchant banking at CIBC World Markets in Vancouver, Toronto and London (UK).
The corporate world gave me a great education, but from the time I was eight I knew I wanted to build my own business. Back then, I bought 10-cent comic books and sold them in a different neighbourhood for 25 cents. In 2001, I left the corporate life behind to become the entrepreneur I always wanted to be.
My First Business Is Built On Compassion
In 2001, during her pregnancy with our first son, Teena was placed on emergency bed rest. We needed at-home care for her but were shocked to discover how hard it was to find – we actually had some scary experiences along the way. I began looking at the bigger picture: what about my mom, whose serious illness prevented her from taking care of herself? What happens with her, or my friends’ loved ones, or anyone’s loved ones? Most of us want to live at home as long as possible as we age. How can I help make that happen?
With this in mind, my business partner and I started Nurse Next Door®, offering a range of senior-care services to help people live at home and experience happier aging.
We started off with one location here in Vancouver and have grown to service 180+ locations throughout North America. It is our corporate culture to respect and value our 5000+ hard-working employees.
The company has been listed as one of North America’s 50 best franchises, named a top employer in B.C. and Canada numerous times and also recognized as Canada’s Smartest Company by PROFIT Magazine.
My Second Business Is Built On Community
Through my children I met the Siegel family of Siegel’s Bagels – a neighbourhood favorite in Kitsilano and Granville Island. One day, after tasting a bagel direct from their oven – it hit me. I needed to help them bring fresh bagels to more neighbourhoods – and Rosemary Rocksalt was born. Now we have created 100 jobs in five locations with a sixth on the way.
Looking For Innovative Ideas Worldwide
I love to build businesses – profitable and sustainable businesses that keep people employed and pay taxes that fund our city, province and country. I’ve toured companies and organizations all over the world looking for innovation and best practices. In Japan, I’ve visited Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi and Daiwa House. I’ve toured FedEx’s operations to gain logistics insight and visited Google, Cisco and LinkedIn.
It’s my mission to bring best practices to all the organizations I work for, including the City of Vancouver.