How can new businesses connect the social to the ecological?
The Ghana Bamboo Bikes is a social enterprise founded by Bernice Dapaah promotes social development in Ghana. It aspires to reduce climate change while providing rural jobs. Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative has grown from a project idea into an award winning social enterprise. It is one of a number of bamboo bike companies in Ghana, that include Bamboo Bikes Limited, Yonso Project, and Bamboosero.
Bamboo bikes aim to deliver a sustainable and affordable form of transportation that satisfies local needs, but also creates jobs and rural economic activities using local resources. The construction of bamboo bikes is less energy intensive than production of steel bikes, while the initiative aims to promote fair trade, fair business practices, and create environmentally responsible products. While bamboo frames are more environmentally friendly than aluminium or steel frames, frames are a relatively small contribution to the total life cycle impact of a bicycle according to research from Wageningen University.
Ghana Bamboo Bikes trains people, especially women, with little or no education in the manufacturing and assembling of bamboo bikes. The company has created 30 jobs (10 jobs for farmers and 20 jobs for bamboo bike assemblers). The project has attracted a lot of global attention as an example of green innovation in Ghana, with its founder being named a 2014 Young Global Leader By World Economic Forum, and the project being featured in UNFCC’s Momentum for Change program.
For more information an October 2015 BBC news Africa Business Report on the bamboo bicycle industry in Ghana.