Ghana Goes Green With Bamboo Bikes

By Isaac Kaledzi

A young female social entrepreneur has vowed to bring change to the world - one bamboo bike at a time. The 19-year-old employs about 30 girls to produce bikes in Ghana and has received numerous awards for her work.

Winifred Selby, 19, is a young social entrepreneur who is determined to fight for a carbon-free and greener planet.

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She founded Ghana Bamboo Bikes in 2009 - and her business model took off immediately. She currently employs about 30 young women and her bikes made from bamboo are becoming more popular day by day. Selby says the company creates a turnover of about $10,000 (7,720 euros) a month by exporting some of its bikes.

She started her enterprise at the age of 15. Money was always tight in the family. She says she was motivated by the challenges she and her family were facing.

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"When I was six things were so tight that we sometimes had to sell [items] during [school] vacations, because where are the school fees going to come from?" Often she would sell toffee or other small items to earn a little bit of money.

Helping the community

But Selby soon decided she wanted to found her own company that would be committed to promoting fair trade, treating people fairly and creating environmentally responsible products that help reduce change. She also wanted to provide job opportunities that would help other young Ghanaians escape poverty.

 Even though the concept of bamboo bikes is nothing new, Selby decided to take the leap with co-founders Bernice Dapaah and Kwame Kyei.

The Ghana Bamboo Bikes initiative is based in Kumasi, Ghana's second biggest city. It's where the team assembles bikes that are suitable for the country's high terrain and rough roads.

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"A frame is $250, and we produce 90," Selby said. "If the cost of producing a bamboo frame is 150 and we are selling at 250, then it means we get a profit of 100."

Kafui Dey, a popular TV host in Ghana, took a test ride on one of the bamboo bikes at a recently held exhibition. He says he was impressed with the quality.

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Protecting the environment

"It felt good and stable, it wasn't too heavy and I had a spin around, and I enjoyed it," Dey said. "What was more exciting to me was the initiative - being taken by Ghanaians to do something not just for themselves but for their communities."

Selby and her colleagues at Ghana Bamboo Bikes say they aim at becoming a huge company with branches across the country. With such a success story just over four years of operations, the future looks bright for this project which is contributing to reducing climate change and protecting the environment.

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This article has 4 Comments

  1. Interesting. What about the deterioration when the Bamboo Bike starts to follow the path of nature?????

    1. Well at present the bikes we have rust out in a minute and I have seen houses last years built from bamboo. In nature under the conditions of nature bamboo lasts a very long time.

  2. Baaaaaad Asssss!! I’d like to promote your product in the US. What do we need to do to make this happen. I was just writing about the inferior education Americans are subject to that does not lend itself to creative endeavors like the one I see you’ve embarked on. This is just so exciting, it’s unbelievable.

    Sincerely,

    Kofi Khemet

  3. This is so very encouraging. It motivates our young people to consider what is available in their natural environment (and in their imagination) to create a brighter and better world. Keep the ideas flowing.

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