Financing your greenhouse project is like training for the Olympics

Whenever the Olympics come around, our thoughts are on the athletes and all the hard work and sacrifices they endure in making their respective teams. They started with a dream that might have begun when they were only six years old. It doesn’t matter how or when the dream first formed, it only matters that after tremendous sacrifice and hard work, they are able to fulfill their goal of competing in the Winter Olympics.

In this six-part series on financing your greenhouse project, I will focus on a 10-point checklist that will help you expand your project idea into an operational business. I will discuss securing the location, the marketplace, equipment selection, business plans, and how to build your credit strength. The analogy of “training for the Winter Olympics” will remain my focus, because in this marketplace, if you are not serious about your involvement and preparation, then you are not ready to move your project from dream to reality.

After joining Atticus Financial Group in 2004, I was quickly introduced to the concept of equipment financing and how that might apply to the greenhouse industry. A month into my new career, a local greenhouse grower led me on a tour of his biomass boiler room and then pointed out that he had used an equipment lease to finance his multimillion-dollar boiler system. The door opened and my dream started – helping others use equipment financing to fulfill their dreams to enter the greenhouse marketplace. The real challenge is how we move your dream from a vision to the reality of a successful business.

What are the qualifications for sports for business success?

As an example, if you are interested in joining the Canadian bobsleigh team, the team website ( lists the attributes required to participate: explosive power and strength, speed, self-motivation and hard work, and being a team player. In over five years of financing projects for the greenhouse and bio-energy industries, I recognize that these requirements are also needed for individual and corporate business success. Do you have the courage and determination that is required to plan and practise in making your dream a reality?

Are you a serious corporate athlete or just playing in a recreational league for the fun of it? Many visionary people across North America have the dream of building a greenhouse in their neighbourhood, and some even have the property secured, but very few are willing and able to push off and ride the equivalent bobsleigh through the twists and turns of an Olympic course. The reality is that no one would jump into a bobsleigh without doing their research and then training with an experienced crew.

Along with everything else, you need a sense of humour

No doubt there is risk and reward in this sport, as there is in any business endeavour. So my goal in this series is to help you identify those risks and encourage you to strive for the reward and fulfillment of your dream.

In following the analogy of the bobsleigh team, if you haven’t already seen the Disney movie Cool Runnings, then you should check out the movie trailer (available on YouTube). This hilarious movie not only proves the point that you need a sense of humour to be successful, but it shows that you also need a vision and a strong desire if you are to succeed. This true story is based on a Jamaican track athlete who did not make his country’s Summer Olympics team, but still held onto his powerful dream of competing in the Olympics. Fortuitously, he stumbled upon a former bobsleigh coach who was hiding out in Jamaica, trying to forget his own dream that had gone off the tracks. The point of this story is that someone with a dream and a strong desire to succeed can be successful beyond even their own imagination.

You will need a team of adventurous supporters and encouragers, along with immense perseverance, for there will be adversity, possibly moments of heartbreak, and maybe even some crashes along the way. As a bioenergy visionary, you will need to share your dream with others and start preparing for your own Olympic Games of financing and then building your bioenergy project. In my next article, I will expand on building your team and how to finance your dream based on that timeless question from Cool Runnings: “Are you feeling Olympic today?”

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