The Five minutes with series presents a company with five short, sharp and to-the-point questions about who they are and what they do. This week, we’re joined by Booomers CEO Kwabena Danso.
Can you tell us the history of the company?
Booomers is a social enterprise which was founded five years ago to undertake the commercial production of bamboo bicycle frames and accessories. The idea of building bamboo bikes started when we were looking for ways to generate income internally for our non-profit organisation, the Yonso Project, to sustain the rural development programs.
In 2009, we partnered with the renowned Craig Calfee to train a select number of youths in rural areas to make bamboo bicycles. We started producing bicycles in 2010 and since then, we have innovated on new product lines and also improved our frames quality, to ensure customer satisfaction.
Currently, we're seen as the biggest bamboo bikes manufacturer in Africa. The company has moved from an initial workforce of three workers to a direct employment of 40 workers and additional indirect employment for about 20 young people, through bamboo plantation and harvesting – as well as finer sourcing.
What are you ultimately trying to achieve?
We're seeking to bring this high-quality and environmentally friendly product to the customer. We're seeking to put the bamboo bike, which has been marketed mostly as a high-end product, into the hands of every customer who also cares about the environment.
We're looking to give bicycle lovers a new rider experience. Our main aim is to revolutionalise the bike industry and we're starting this revolution in the UK. We're giving customers the opportunity to own their customed made bikes based on their own budget. The only component of the bike that will be constant will be the price of the frame, which is hand-made in Ghana.
What gives you an edge over other brands in the industry?
Our products are of high quality, environmentally friendly and socially impactful. Our bike frames are light, shockproof and strong, which gives the customers a great riding experience. These bikes are environmentally friendly in that they are made from natural materials. Even the resin epoxy used is totally plant-based and therefore has a limited carbon footprint.
The company also has a great social impact on the communities the bikes are made. In fact, our operation achieves about five of the Sustainable Development Goals; education, gender equality, decent work, zero poverty and the protection of the environment. By buying a product from Booomers, you contribute towards the achievement of some SDGs and the empowerment of young people, children and women living in rural Ghana.
What innovations in the industry are exciting you at the moment?
The rising popularity of the electric bikes is exciting for me. This is the reason we developed the bamboo electric bike as well. We're happy to input a green dimension to this movement sweeping across the globe.
What does the future hold for the company?
Our company addresses the problems of rural unemployment, rural-urban migration, poverty, climate change and affordable green transport. We'll therefore seek to expand these impacts whilst aiming to become the biggest bamboo bicycle manufacturer in the world.