"I love working, but I don't like having a boss, so this is a perfect solution for me."
From athlete to entrepreneur
Earle Connor's career as an athlete reached its pinnacle in September, 2008, when he won a gold medal in the men's T42 100 metre sprint at the Beijing Paralympics. But once he had completed his victory lap, Earle knew he had a decision to make: to continue as an athlete, or move on to something new?
When he decided that it was time to hang up his spikes, a friend invited him to check out her new business – a nutritional consulting franchise in Airdrie, AB. Within half-an-hour, Earle had fallen in love with the concept: working with clients one-on-one and helping them improve their health through proper nutrition.
After working in Airdrie for a year, it was clear to Earle that he needed to be his own boss. He therefore prepared to set up a new franchise in nearby Cochrane. But at the last minute, his private financing fell through. He found Community Futures Centre West, and as he puts it "was thrown a lifeline."
"Community Futures was able to give me a line of credit through the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program," he says. "But more than that, they taught me how to be a business person, and helped me develop skills I needed to succeed."
Since opening his business less than a year ago, Earle has already acquired double his projected number of clients, and he expects to be hiring some staff soon. He is proud not only of his success, but of the contribution he is making to the city of Cochrane. Looks like he may be due for another victory lap.