Small businesses can come from the most unlikely of sources and these three businesses were born out of one of those: The National Football League. The NFL is the most watched sport in America with millions of people tuning in each week but what the public doesn’t know is that the NFL is committed to helping players find a life after football. With more than 75% of retired NFL players nearly bankrupt after only two years out of the league, the NFL knew that it had a responsibility to help players find success later in life.
Because of that, the Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program was developed along with such schools as the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Harvard Business School to help develop entrepreneurs. Here are just a few of the success stories that have come from this program.
Integrate.com was the dream of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Bloom. Bloom was an accomplished athlete in more than just football but he always had dreams of owning his own business. Through this NFL program he took classes at the Wharton School and later met Hart Cunningham, an accomplished business owner outside of the NFL.
They formed integrate.com, a company that helps brands and agencies run sophisticated advertising campaigns. The company has grown to more than 130 employees and has clients like Microsoft.
Two former Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jeb Terry and Ryan Nece, created Gridiron Ventures after taking part in the NFL’s Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program. This company allows consumers to download a mobile app and listen to audio messages, similar to podcasts, of their favorite football player. For only 99 cents a month or $4.99 per year, customers can subscribe to the players’ audio feed and even leave audio replies.
New England Patriots and New York Jets linebacker Matt Chatham created SkyCrepers, a rapidly growing restaurant chain based in the New England area. As the name suggests, the restaurant specializes in quick serve crepes and opened its first restaurant in Massachusetts. Although the business is young, Chatham’s plan is to open more local stores and later franchise the model for worldwide exposure.
The National Football League isn’t the only program set up to help aspiring entrepreneurs realize their dream. For those who never played professional football, places like the Small Business Administration offer mentoring as well as startup funding for anybody hoping to follow their entrepreneurial dream.