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prospectus - Bamboo Bike Project

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					The Bamboo Bike Project seeks to build a safe, reliable and multi-purpose bicycle suitable for African conditions
Bamboo Bike Project
using native bamboo while establishing the first bicycle production industry in Africa. We feel strongly that bam-
boo bikes have the potential to improve the lives of many Africans – not only by delivering a sustainable and af-
fordable form of transportation that satisfies local needs, but also by creating employment opportunities and,
eventually, bringing about needed economic growth.

                                     The work of the                   Providing convenient transportation for far-
                                     Bamboo Bike                       mers to carry goods to markets.
                                                                  •

                                     Project to date has       Although ubiquitous, bicycles today are generally of
                                     been largely com-         poor quality, dangerous, costly to maintain and not
                                     pleted with the           highly adaptable to the road conditions typical in Afri-
                                     help of volunteers        ca. Designs have not improved in decades and are ap-
                                     and a small amount        propriate only for personal transport on good road
                                     of seed funding           conditions. In addition, despite the very real need for
                                     from the Earth in-        bicycles in sub-Saharan Africa, there are no local bi-
                                     stitute, Columbia         cycle manufacturers anywhere on the continent.
University. Now, the transition to an economical
model of mass production requires additional support.
To this end, an investment of $80,000 would help the
                                                               An Overview of the Bamboo Bike Project:

Bamboo Bike Project to establish a production facility         To address the need for greater access to inexpensive,
employing 20 people and producing 20,000 bikes per             multi-purpose transportation in poor, rural areas of
year. In return for this investment, we offer a number         sub-Saharan Africa, the Earth Institute at Columbia
of attractive incentives, including access to bike tech-       University initiated the Bamboo Bike project in 2007.
nology and technical advice on bike construction.
                                                               The main objectives of the project are twofold: (1) to

                                                                   NOTE: Africa imports an estimated 30 million
Why Bicycles Matter in sub-Saharan Africa:

Virtually all forms of production and commerce rely
on efficient transportation infrastructure. However, in          bikes per year, yet there are no bike manufactur-
sub-Saharan Africa, a lack of suitable transportation                          ers on the continent!
limits enterprise and access to social services. To this
                                     end, bicycles can         design and build a bike suitable for people in rural
                                     fill an extremely         Africa using native bamboo, and (2) to establish a bi-
                                     important need by         cycle production industry in Africa to satisfy local
                                     providing an af-          needs.
                                     fordable form of
                                     transportation at a       A unique cargo bike was designed, built and tested in
                                     relatively modest         Ghana using bamboo for the bicycle frame, rather than
                                     cost that substan-        commonly used steel. Bamboo is grown locally in
                                     tially improves           many regions of Africa, and the manufacturing of bi-
mobility over walking. Bikes provide a number of               cycle frames does not require costly infrastructure or
benefits, including:                                           reliable electricity. Bamboo framed bicycles are lighter
    • Helping reduce transportation time;                      and stronger than steel frames, adaptable to difficult
    • Opening new markets for trade;                           road conditions and can be easily modified for differ-
    • Improving access to social services, including           ent needs, such as carrying farm loads, passengers,
         healthcare and education;
                                                           1
food, water and medicine. They can also be made in a
design suitable for women.
                                                                Statement of Need:

                                                                The project is now reaching a critical stage. Our part-
Most importantly, the bikes are very affordable. In             ners are establishing suitable manufacturing sites in
2008, KPMG analyzed the feasibility of bamboo bicycle           Africa and our engineers in New York are creating the
production in Ghana and found that bikes can be pro-            systems needed to go to full production. However, the
duced for less than $50, and sold for significantly less        transition from prototype production to large-scale
than the existing market price of bikes imported from           production is a critical step that will require new in-
China and India. The payback period is less than two            vestment. An investment of up to $80,000 will go a
years when producing 20,000 bikes per annum.                    long way toward ensuring the feasibility and viability
                                                                of this project.
                                   In addition to their
                                   low cost, the manufac-       The funding would be used primarily in four ways:
                                   turing of bamboo bi-            • Testing ($15,000) – to continue testing and
                                   cycle frames will                   refining bike construction;
                                   create employment,              • Sourcing ($20,000) – to identify established
                                   thereby helping sti-                metal parts vendors from China or elsewhere,
                                   mulate local enter-                 and secure quality parts (chains, cranks, han-
                                   prise and economic                  dlebars, etc.) to establish an effective supply
                                   development. Given                  chain;
the existing demand for affordable bikes and the sca-              • Development ($30,000) – to create and re-
lability of this model to other cities in sub-Saharan                  fine tools that ensure bikes can be produced in
Africa, bamboo bikes have the potential to become a                    significant numbers and in a reasonable
viable business opportunity with significant social and                amount of time; and
economic impact.                                                   • Training/Set-up ($15,000) – to transfer the
                                                                       technology to Africa and train workers.
Next Steps for the Bamboo Bike Project:

The project is ready to scale-up to “factory-style” bike
production. Economies of scale can be created and
                                                                  NOTE: Did you know Bamboo has a tensile strength

workers trained to perform skilled tasks in a coordi-
                                                                  greater than steel?

nated and efficient way to meet the scale of the need.
                                                                Your investment would receive a number of benefits
A local investor in Kumasi, Ghana has committed to              in return: (1) the no-cost provision of bamboo bikes
helping develop factory-scale production. A lease for a         technology; (2) technical advice on bamboo bike con-
production facility has been obtained, and agreements           struction techniques; and (3) an introduction to other
                                 reached to harvest             current and potential investors, to build effective re-
                                 local bamboo. The              gional and international networks, as well as positive
                                 Bamboo Bike Project            media exposure and publicity.
                                 has also engaged in
                                 discussions with in-
                                 terested investors in
                                                                            We welcome your support to

                                 Kenya, as well as a
                                                                             make this vision a reality!

                                 number of prospec-
                                 tive buyers, including
                                                                For more information, please contact the Bamboo

NGOs based in Africa and the United States. In addi-
                                                                Bike Project at jmutter@ei.columbia.edu, or the Mil-

tion, recent innovations, coupled with new construc-
                                                                lennium Cities Initiative at mci@ei.columbia.edu.

tion techniques, will allow bamboo bikes to be com-
                                                                Please visit: http://bamboobike.org or

pleted in less than two hours.
                                                                http://mci.ei.columbia.edu/?id=bamboo_bikes.




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Description: Bicycles, also known as bike or bicycle, usually two small land-based vehicles. People ride the train, the foot pedal-powered, green environmentally friendly transport.