Theo Mutesa, Founder and CEO of Kigali Fit, has received a Rwf1 million Small Business Grant
Daniel Trust Foundation, an award-winning nonprofit organization that supports young people in the United States and Rwanda, has awarded a Rwf1,000,000 small business grant to Theo Mutesa, Founder and CEO of Kigali Fit, as part of its newly launched Small Business Grant Program.
Theo founded Kigali Fit to make functional fitness mainstream in Rwanda.
“I want Kigali Fit to be the number one fitness center in Rwanda one day,” Theo said. “I also want to win the fittest country in East Africa title at the CrossFit Games tournament.”
Theo opened Kigali Fit in 2019 and grew the business organically through social media and word of month. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to close the gym.
“COVID-19 has impacted us extremely hard. All gyms have been mandated to close until further notice by the government,” Theo said. “It has been a year now and we have seen a third of gyms in Kigali go out of business.”
Theo says his gym was making a big impact in the community before the pandemic.
“When we were open, Kigali Fit was bringing people from all walks of life together,” Theo said. “We created a unique and healthy fitness community of like minded people.”
Kigali Fit makes it possible to practice Functional fitness/CrossFit without going abroad.
“Rwandans get exposed to the amazing functional fitness training methodology and community,” Theo said. "Also, tourists and immigrants who already know functional fitness continue practicing it here in Kigali.”
Theo was born in Rwanda, but he and his family fled the country in 1994 because of the genocide against the Tutsi that was happening. His family lived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia before immigrating to the Netherlands in 1999.
“I started my business as a way to get back in touch with my Rwandan roots and to contribute to the rebuilding of Rwanda,” Theo said. “After living in the Netherlands for 20 years, I started having an identity crisis of who I truly am and how I can be of service to this world.”
Theo is also a very successful YouTuber. His channel TheoIsBack has 23,000 subscribers and his videos have been viewed over 2 million times.
“I started my YouTube channel to document my journey and to inspire other Rwandans or Africans in the diaspora to go back to Africa and be the change we want to see.” Theo said.
Theo has a Bachelor's degree in Human Movement Science and Psychomotor Therapy from the University of Amsterdam.
The Daniel Trust Foundation Small Business Grant Program provides funding and support to young entrepreneurs in Rwanda.
The goal of the program is to provide financial support to young Rwandan small business owners who have greatly been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grant awards range from Rwf500,000 to Rwf1,000,000 and applications are by invitation only.
Theo says receiving this small business grant will help him with the efforts for reopening Kigali Fit when the Government of Rwanda authorizes gyms to reopen in the country.
"It's truly an honor to support the work Theo is doing in Rwanda," said Daniel Trust, President and CEO of Daniel Trust Foundation. "I love his story of coming back home and I want to see him succeed."
To learn more about Daniel Trust Foundation, please click here.