It all started seven years ago when the students Maximilian Schay and Jonas Stolzke received a photo from a friend in Ghana. It showed a bicycle made of bamboo tubes. The interest of the two cycling fans was immediately aroused. A bike made of bamboo? That sounded exciting and new, they had never seen that before. They began to research and put the potential material to the acid test. "We found out that bamboo is the perfect resource," says Jonas. "It can be found almost everywhere in Ghana, is quickly renewable and can be used immediately. Bamboo also binds a lot of CO2 and is therefore one of the most environmentally friendly resources in the world". And - essential for the construction of bicycle frames - the grass plant with the strongly woody stem is very stable as well as light and damping.
The idea of my Boo began to emerge in their minds. For the two founders it was clear from the very beginning that with their start-up they not only wanted to sell bamboo bikes, but also wanted to support the country from where the resources come.
"Every part of the value chain should benefit equally," Maximilian explains their philosophy. For this they needed a local partner. A partner like the social Yonso Project, which fights against high youth unemployment and for fair paid jobs, finances school scholarships and libraries as well as grants micro credits in the Ashanti region around the city of Kumasi and the village of Yonso, home village of the initiator Kwabena Danso. The cooperation between Kiel and Ghana began in the same year they got to know each other.
Since then, the frames for all my Boo bikes have been manufactured in Yonso. Kwabena and his team are training young employees on site. " So far, 40 fairly paid jobs have been created," says Jonas. It takes 80 hours to assemble a frame by hand. The bamboo canes, which have to dry for several months until they are strong and resistant enough, are connected with hemp ropes soaked in bio-resin, sanded, painted and perfected. After a first quality check, they are shipped to Kiel to the my Boo headquarters, where they are checked again and put together with other parts to form bicycles. This type of production makes each bike unique. Whether trekking e-bike, racing, cross or city version. 16 models are now on the market and can be configured individually.
Jonas Stolzke and Maximilian Schay are proud of what my Boo has become in recent years and what has already been achieved through the collaboration with the Yonso Project: For example, the "Bike to School Program", jointly with UNICEF Ghana, 150 bamboo wheels were made available to children from rural areas to make it easier for them to go to school. Or the 300 school scholarships that have been granted since 2014. But the two want even more. "Education is the key to a self-determined future," explains Maximilian. "That's why we started building our own Yonso Project Model School two years ago, which we hope to open next year."
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