Bernice Dapaah is a young entrepreneur in Ghana who is using an innovative and eco-friendly practice to create lasting impact in her society.
She graduated from Christian Service University College in 2010 with a degree in Business Administration and prior to that, had actively contemplated how she would use her education to improve her business.
Her answer was back in her hometown of Kumasi, where Bernice Dapaah now grows bamboo and transforms the raw material into bike frames. She created the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, a company that possesses not only a vision of being eco-friendly but also make a lasting social impact on her community.
Of course building bamboo bike frames would involve cutting bamboo plants which many may designate as not very eco-friendly, but for every bamboo plant her team cuts down, they plant ten more.
When a community makes use of her bikes, they can reduce carbon emissions by up to 70 percent and to give back to her own community, Bernice Dapaah donates her bikes to kids at the local school in Kumasi, so their daily commute can be made easier.
Her Bamboo Bike Initiative continually builds capacity, creating employment opportunities for both skilled and unskilled youth and women. The website documents that 35 jobs have been created of which there are 25 bike builders and 10 farmers.
In addition to the employment opportunities created, there exists yet more economic advantages from the initiative as the local government is assisted through taxes and foreign exchange that is generated through exports and exports.
Bernice Dapaah’s initiative has earned her international recognition and she is now selling her bikes all over the world including in Europe, Israel, and the United States.
The website also gives an example of the social impact that this innovative idea provides in Ghana;
Our woman-led Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative trains people, especially women, with little or no education in the manufacturing and assembling of bamboo bikes. Producing a sustainable, affordable and reliable form of transportation has improved the lives of many rural Ghanaians. Our bicycles are designed with local conditions in mind, built to be light and stable for rough terrain, satisfying local needs and bringing about local economic growth.
It is for this reason that Bernice is an excellent example of an innovative African and we applaud her efforts.