#RisingStartups: Bamboo Bikes Makers, Booomers, Share their vision and challenges!

This week on #RisingStartups, I bring to you the manufacturers of Bamboo bikes, Booomers!

What is your start up about?

Booomers International Limited, frequently referred to as Booomers, is an environmentally friendly bamboo bicycle manufacturing and distribution company in Ghana, West Africa, which sells to various global distributors. Our products will soon include several different types of bicycles in addition to the current production of frames and accessories. We are currently producing city and road bikes. Our company, apart from producing quality bicycle frames, also seeks to address the issues of youth unemployment, climate change, poverty, and rural-urban migration. Furthermore, 15% of our profits will return to the local community in the form of renovation of schools and scholarships for underprivileged students.

What made you get started?

Booomers was started under the Yonso project to help solve the huge unemployment problem in rural Ghana. Through this initiative, we were also going to promote bamboo as a great resource that can spur the growth of the Ghanaian economy. Booomers was registered last year to take advantage of the global demand and to go into the commercial production of the bamboo bikes.

Any challenges? How are you managing it?

We face several challenges but notable of them is lack of access to funding and the high rate of taxes. This actually cripples the company makes it is very difficult for it to grow. We’re currently bootstrapping to stay in business. Thus we sell our products, reinvest the income into new production. I need not mention the issue of Electricity which has brought a lot of hardship on us. We have to alternate our office hours to make sure we get light at the office all the time to continue production.

What is your vision for your start up?

Our vision is to grow this company into a multi-billion industry that will actually revolutionize the Ghanaian economy. We are thinking of diversifying into other bamboo products very soon.

Tell us about yourself and your co-founders if any.

Kwabena Danso is the co-founder and the Executive Director of the Yonso Project, a rural community development based organization which works to improve educational and economic opportunities for people in rural Ghana. Kwabena is also the founder and CEO of Booomers International Ltd, a bamboo bicycle and accessories manufacturing social enterprise working to provide employment in rural communities in Ghana. Kwabena’s bamboo bicycle program has distributors in several countries including the USA, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Taiwan and it currently employs 17 rural youth with the hope of training more youth in the near future as demand keeps going up. The company currently exports 95% of its products. To date, the Yonso Project has provided support to over 3500 rural children to have access to quality education in the form of scholarships and literacy development programs including libraries and reading activities. The Yonso Project has also supported over 400 women with business training and micro-credits.  Kwabena is a Global Fellow of the International Youth Foundation, a recipient of the Airtel Touching Lives Award (2012 edition) and the Presidential Award for Grassroots and Rural community Development at the maiden edition of the National Youth Achievers Awards in 2012. Kwabena holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Ghana and a Masters’ degree in Finance from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Kwabena has also been featured by several international media including the CNN, BBC, VOA and others

Any awards won?

Global fellow of the International Youth Foundation

Airtel Touching Lives Award

National Youth Achievers Award for grassroots and rural development by President of Ghana

As a startup, what do you expect from government?

As a startup, I only expect the government to create the enabling environment by providing tax incentives to start ups to spur their growth. There should also be conscious efforts to promote outstanding startups and give them the necessary platforms that will ensure the sustainability of these young businesses. Government must understand that, there will be a lot of employment opportunities if startups are able to grow. So instead of the government doing direct employment which normally comes with their own problems and burdens, they should rather support the startups and the SMEs to be able to employ.

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