Community Futures Oxford has dispersed a grant that will help a local tech startup to officially launch their business. Grants are made available to startup and existing small business owners under 30 through the Community Economic Development (CED) Initiatives program.
The grant recipient is Oxford County native Ethan Williams and his business partner Evan McHugh (also from Oxford County), owners of GymFleet. GymFleet’s founder, Williams, has been working away at the idea for several years and is ready to launch the website and application that creates multi-facility access for independent gyms/fitness studios and their members.
“CFO was the very first place I went to when deciding I wanted to start this business. They have a great working knowledge and platform to assist in any avenue of business. CFO has help my company tremendously in the start up phase and as continued to be a valued partner has we grow.”
-Ethan Williams, CEO
Like many business ideas, GymFleet was born out of the personal discovery of an unmet need in the market. As a university student, Ethan and many of his friends spent eight months in one city and four months in another. Ethan noticed that many people had two gym memberships- one in each city they lived throughout the year. He also noticed corporate or franchised gyms already offered multi-facility access because of their large network of existing gyms nationally. “It was around this time that I realized there was a real business opportunity here,” says Williams, “the traditional yearly subscription based model has become less attractive to consumers. People want the ability to workout wherever and whenever rather than being locked down to a single gym location. Gym Fleet provides flexible fitness access to a wide variety of workout styles including weight room, crossfit and yoga studios all under one platform. This makes it easy to find a gym that best suits the user, while also giving them access across the board to experience all that fitness has to offer.”
Knowing that his business model would require strong partner relationships, Williams asked McHugh to come on as the Head of Sales. GymFleet currently employs two full stack developers and plans to grow to a team of ten by the end of the year.
“What I find truly captivating about the story of this business is that it goes against almost everything we hear about young people in Oxford County. Ethan and his team work really hard, they’ve built a strong network and they’re entrepreneurs in the tech industry. They are a living example of what Community Futures Oxford has been trying to share with the community for many years: the existing generation of young people make some of the greatest entrepreneurs and Oxford County can be the best place to chase that dream. We fully support that ambition and back that up with money for young entrepreneurs, both through grants and access to capital,” said Lindsay Wilson, Coordinator for CED initiatives at CFO.
“The approval for Gym Fleet’s grant application is one of several grants for young entrepreneurs this year. CFO places immense value on actively supporting groups that are under-represented in entrepreneurship including youth, women and aboriginal clients.”
-Lindsay Wilson, CED Coordinator
Community Futures Oxford has will continue to offer grants to young entrepreneurs. Interested applicants should visit the funding section of the CFO website to learn more.