Kimberly Spice —
To work, live, breath your passion is what 26-year-old entrepreneur Ivan Ho does on a daily basis. Ho discovered he was meant to follow his dream of fitness while in university. After graduating in kinesiology from The University of Western in 2009, he started his first business after receiving money from the Government of Ontario, which enabled him to take a fitness regime door-to-door.
“I participated in a program called Summer Company, a program funded by the Government of Ontario,” Ho told The Bulletin. “Any secondary or post-secondary student can participate in summer companies that have established entrepreneurs in the city. It helps kids begin their own start-up. I participated in that and won Award for Best Start-Up. It was an in-home personal training company, called Fit from Home.”
After, Ho started to do group personal training and his first entrepreneurial company ended, but then he set his sights on a much bigger venture leading to his current Fit Factory Fitness business now located at 373 King Street West.
Never second guessing or listening to the naysayers of his business ideas, Ho forged ahead but he never forgot when one particular lawyer told him that he should give up on his dream.
“Even the lawyer—with my first company when I wanted to incorporate—she pulled me aside alone and said ‘I don’t think this is going to work,’” The Maple Leaf Square resident reflected. “‘Good luck, but maybe you should try something else.’ I remember that very, very well.”
Coming from humble beginnings, Ho and his business partner Tony Austin were the only employees, but now the company has approximately 20 people on staff.
Not losing focus on what brings satisfaction to his life; Ho is always looking for ways to give back to the community. His current company has raised more than $200,000 for many charities including Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Sick Kids Foundation, Rethink Breast Cancer and Canadian Cancer Society only to name a few.
Once Ho’s current business meets his expectations, his next step is to expand outside of Canada with possible franchises.
“It’s definitely something I want to look into,” Ho states. “We have a lot of members from outside of Canada such as Dubai, Asia, India and Europe that think, that what we have here could work in those cities so it’s worth it to explore a franchise in Hong Kong, Munich or Chicago or somewhere else outside of Canada.”
Ho does not hesitate on sharing the level of commitment he puts into being an entrepreneur. Long hours each day are what he thrives on and even when he is away from the business it is constantly on his mind.
“I do think about it all the time,” commented Ho. “I think that’s what it takes. When you have your own business it’s like your baby. It’s like having your own child that you have to take care of so you definitely need to take yourself away from that. You can’t be fully encompassed into it 24/7 but it’s like leaving your child, when you leave them you start missing them and you start to think about them so it’s a matter of balance and finding peace in yourself and not getting overwhelmed.”
Information about Ho’s latest project can be found at http://fitfactoryfitness.com.