my Boo Bamboo Bikes

my Boo Bamboo Bikes: Sustainable. Social. Unique.

Kiel, GermanyYonso, Ghana
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Established
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

my Boo produces high quality bamboo bicycles together with the social NGO "Yonso Project" in Ghana. Together we are facing the problem of poverty and unemployment. We create a product with a high social impact on the one side and on the other side a product that is worth to buy due to quality.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if our loved products are produced in Africa and enable a sustainable development there?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Most of the African countries share the same problem: Their economy is addicted to natural ressources like gold, mineral oil or others. There is no added value in the country. Through this there is a huge unemployment in rural areas. Most of the jobs are concentrated in the big citys. Same in Ghana. The same problem is with eductaion. A lot of children do not have the chance for a good education, especially in the rural areas.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

my Boo trys to creates a sustainable impact in Ghana through a fair and helpful production at eye level. We want to train people in rural areas of Ghana and give them a job right there. Their work should cover the financial needs of their families on one side, and on the other side should give more people in their region a sense of perspective through education. We are doing this together with the social NGO Yonso Project. They are organizing the production of our bicycle frames in Ghana. They care about the salaries of the worker and the funding of the scholarship program. We are paying them a fair prize for every frame. This is a good example for a cooperation on eye level that creates a huge social impact for a lot of people.

Awards

Yooweedoo Changemaker (University of Kiel)
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

One of our employees in Ghana is called Oscar. Oscar is the father of 6 children. They are living in the Ashanti Region in Ghana und poor cicumstances (one small room for the whole familiy to sleep). Because of the economic situation it is hard for Oscar to find a job near to his familiy. It would be also difficult to travel each day to the next big city, because of financial issues. Kwabena Danso, the founder of the Yonso Project gave him a job as bamboo bicycle frame bilder at the workshop for my Boo. With his earnings he was able to buy food for his wife and his children. But more over the Yonso Project is helping his familiy by giving scholarships to his children. This is how my Boo and the Yonso Project create a sustainable impact.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Together with the Yonso Projects we built a new workshop building for the organization of the social projects and for the bamboo bicycle workshop. This is financed through the gains of the bamboo bicycle selling. There are about 10 Ghanaian people working in the workshop right now, producing the bamboo frames for my Boo. The Yonso Project was able to give out more than 150 scholarships to needy pupils in the region. A scholarship consists of very basic things like school uniforms, sandals, pens and so on. It is just for poor, needy pupils, who are not able to buy these things on their own.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our main goal is to grow hand in hand together with the Yonso Project. The more bicycles we can sell in Europe, the more impact we can create in Ghana in the future. In our opionion it is absolut realistic that we can finance at least 500-1000 scholarships per year. If we are able to increase sales numbers up to 500-1000 we can expand the workshop building in Ghana. More workplaces will be created (up to 40-50). The Yonso Project will have more money to create new great social projects in the Mompong District.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

my Boo is a normal company. Beside the sustainable and social responsibility we want to earn money by selling our awesome bamboo bicycles. In our opinion this is the best and most economically sustainable way to create a project that has a social impact. Social impact and the economic success are no opposition, but can benefit from each other.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The first bamboo bicycle was built at the end of the 19th century. Early in history people recognized that bamboo is a fantastic raw material for bikes. Now, more than 100 years later, there are some smaller workshops and companies in the world, building bamboo bicycles. But they are doing it either on their own in industrial nations or just for profit in Asia or Africa. The difference to my Boo is that we are producing our bamboo bicycle frames with a social NGO in Ghana to create a social impact in Ghana, where the frames come from.
Team

Founding Story

In summer 2012 a friend of us, Niklas Juhl, did his social gab year in Ghana. One day he saw a bamboo bike on the streets. A bike that wouldn´t be sold in Europe, but he loved the product. He told Maximilian and Jonas about his discovery. Both of them were truely convinced about this product and also about starting a production in Africa, in Ghana. After some internet research they found Kwabena Danso and his Yonso Project. Kwabena won a award in ghana for his social commitment. He already made some experiences with bamboo bicycle frames before. The idea of my Boo was born!

Team

my Boo actually consists of 8 people in germany and about 10 in Ghana. Maximilian Schay (24) and Jonas Stolzke (23) are the two founders and CEOs of ma Boo. Felix Habke (31) is caring about marketing and sales and Christian Penke (22) supports us in our back office. The investor Hans Helmut Schramm invested the starting money at the end of 2012 and enables us to start developing all the tools we needed for the production. He loved the idea to build a sustainable product, that has great technical properties as well. Additional we are three bicycle mechanics in our manufacture in Kiel: Dennis Stasiak, Annika Koch and Carsten Vollmer. Together we are a great team of business developer, sales and technical people.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Newsletter

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder of my Boo GmbH

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Maximilian and Jonas are both students. They have not pioneered entrepreneurial initiatives before.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

We are working together with our retail shops. They et great feedback from our customers for the bike. We also made the experience that they love the social aspect behind our bikes. This is an awesome feedback for us and very important.