Do you know 70 percent of Canadian athletes are living below the poverty line? Probably not, most people won’t make connections between Olympians and poverty.
But this is a true problem within Canadian athlete community, which inspires a London business to support these professional athletes financially.
“What most people don’t realize is how expensive it is to be a full-time athlete or high performance athlete, they are spending a lot of money on training, on equipment, they have massage therapy expenses… and on average, they are spending $14,000 more than they actually make,” said Karly Campbell, co-founder of North Strong Collective, Western University MBA student at Ivy.
When a customer buys North Strong Collective clothing, 25 percent of the profits go to amateur athletes and help them make their career dreams come true.
The money helps them buy expensive equipment, cover uniform fees and pay travel costs.
After all, most athletes can’t get sponsorship and funding from big corporations like Nike or Adidas.
“With the Olympic going on, we see Canadian athletes and athletes from all around the world and they are very healthy and in shape and they are wearing Canadian gear, they are not at all the stereotype of what we think of when we think about poverty.” Campbell said.
She added, “The majority of Canadians that we have been spoken to through this process don’t really realize the scope or the magnitude of the problem…70 percent of athletes are living below the poverty line and that is compared to about 14 percent of the general population living below the poverty line.”
North Strong Collective has been running for about a year, they have sponsored 12 athletes so far, two of them competing in Pyeongchang.