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Former Teacher Turned Entrepreneur is Backed by CDFI

Financial and Social Impact

  • Jobs created: Five fitness professional positions
  • Clients served: 53 athletes

Brian Terpak was teaching high school history in South Philadelphia when he discovered the strength-building lifestyle. Although he was new to the challenging workout, Brian came from an extensive background in fitness—he was a high school athlete and a distance runner in college, and coaching had always been a dream.

In 2012, Brian introduced his students to strength training in an after-school program. He bought some equipment with his personal savings and began The Movement Program, where he taught workouts in the school cafeteria. After watching his students gain strength, confidence, and new friendships, Brian was inspired to expand his program into a full-time gym.

Brian had a substantial amount of capital, but needed additional financing. He explored traditional lending options, but they were unable to provide the microloan he needed. Then he found Entrepreneur Works, which provided him with a $6,800 loan along with business planning assistance.

“We were confident that Brian was committed to his business and passionate about bringing strength training to the community.” — Dan Samartino, Senior Loan Officer at Entrepreneur Works

In September 2013, Brian opened Steelworks Strength Systems, where he has since hired another coach and serves 53 athletes, some of which are his old high school students. In the future, Brian hopes to start a strength training program for local, at-risk youth and relocate to a larger space in September 2014. Entrepreneur Works has already committed to financing the expansion.

“Entrepreneur Works was integral in walking me through the process of starting a business—its staff was willing to work with me even though I had no business experience, and they prepared me for success.” — Brian Terpak

(Date of loan: 2013. Date of story publication: 2014)