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Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, right, congratulates wide receiver, Brian Hartline, after he made a catch against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of their NFL football game in Arlington, Tex., Nov. 24, 2011. (Mike Stone/REUTERS)
Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, right, congratulates wide receiver, Brian Hartline, after he made a catch against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of their NFL football game in Arlington, Tex., Nov. 24, 2011. (Mike Stone/REUTERS)

SMALL BUSINESS BRIEFING

NFL player inks $31-million contract, and still works the drive-thru Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz .

It’s ‘the American dream. Owning your own business,’ says Miami Dolphins’ Brian Hartline

Here's a true entrepreneur: Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline has just  signed a five-year contract worth nearly $31-million and yet, he revealed in a recent radio interview, he’s still working the drive-thru at a convenience store he recently bought with a friend.

The NFL player explained that he and his chum purchased a Smart Stop convenience store in Ohio in January, and he was actually speaking to the interviewer from the drive-thru window of the store, according to the reports, including  this one and this one.

It’s “the American dream. Owning your own business," Mr. Hartline was quoted as saying, along with his aspiration to turn his enterprise into the next Circle K Corp., a convenience-store chain owned by Laval, Que.-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (Here’s a link to the radio show interview or listen to it here. Also watch him here.)

As this story notes, many NFL players (and athletes in other sports, too) find themselves in dire financial straits after their sports lives end.

It’s a reality for athletes in a variety of sports examined in this story we ran in March, 2012, about the growing number of pro athletes moving into franchising to prepare for their lives after their sports careers.

The story pointed to NBA Players Association and Sports Illustrated calculations that found that “about 60 per cent of NBA players are bankrupt five years after retiring, while 78 per cent of NFL players are in financial trouble two years after retiring.”

CYBF gets $18-million from federal government

The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) was one of the winners in the federal budget, with an announcement that the government will invest $18-million over two years in the non-profit organization focused on helping young entrepreneurs.

The CYBF offers resources to help people aged 18 to 39 launch businesses; so far, it has invested in 5,600 such young entrepreneurs whose businesses have created 22,100 jobs and $157-million in tax revenue, according to its calculations.

KEY EVENTS AND DATES

Mars Startup Book Club

Umarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging, by Scott Stratten, is the book up for discussion at the next Mars Startup Book Club. The event will be held April 2 in Toronto. For more information, click here.

BCBusiness Innovators of the Year

For the fifth year in a row, BCBusiness magazine will honour 20 of British Columbia’s most innovative companies as innovators of the year. The event will take place on March 27 in Vancouver. For more information, click here.

EDITOR’S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

‘Freemium’ model makes video-game marketing tough slog

Standing out from the crowd starts with a well-designed title, but it also depends heavily on user reviews and number of downloads, reports this story, part of this week’s series examining the business of gaming.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Language skills give owners a leg up

A growing number of small-business owners recognize the value of leveraging language in their business dealings. It’s not about being totally fluent, but the use of local greetings is a show of respect and goes a long way toward building a trusting relationship, recounted this story, published in June, 2012.

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