2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the Business Development Department of Momentum. To celebrate, we collected 20 stories about past participants who have thriving businesses. Written by Marnie Schaetti of RaiDo Dynamics, these stories reflect the diversity, innovation and hard work of the inspiring participants who come through our doors every year to take one of our many programs.
This is one of those stories.
Entrepreneur Name: Ryan O’Sullivan
Programs: Peer Group, Micro Business Loans
Program Years: 2010, 2011
Business Description: Concrete experts: strip forms, building footings and hauling trailers for cribbers.
Phone: 403 869 8418
As Ryan O’Sullivan puts it, he stumbled into being an entrepreneur. He was making very good money and loving his job operating big equipment in Alberta’s northern oilfields but his life changed when he became a single parent – his daughter became his top priority.
He moved to Calgary to be with her and began looking for work in his field. Unsuccessful, he eventually took a job laying concrete. Over time he became increasingly uncomfortable with his new partner’s customer service. In fact, he began to notice that customers specifically requested that he be the one to work on their projects. That gave him the incentive to strike out on his own.
Knowing that he needed business training, Ryan sought out Momentum. There he learned how to articulate his ideas in a business plan, to register the company properly and to think of himself as a business owner. When traditional banks would not give him credit because of an earlier bankruptcy, Momentum gave him a micro loan that enabled him to purchase the tools and equipment he needed.
Five years later, his reputation is such that his company operates entirely on word-of-mouth referrals. He has three crews of sub-contractors pouring concrete for basements and driveways, and takes pride in paying them well. He has revolutionized the way cribbers work by building cribs off-site and delivering them to builders, saving them time and money, and making their worksites safer and less congested. He operates large equipment for other operators who need a break, a sideline he thoroughly enjoys, and uses his trailer to move large equipment around the province for other builders. The business brought in $500,000 last year and Ryan is brimming with ideas for the future.
Ryan may not have had any ambition to be a business owner when he started but he’s been incredibly successful at it. And that success enables him to take care of his greatest priority—his daughter.
Learn more about Momentum’s Business Development programs.