Zambikes provides innovation in cycling mobility. This social enterprise was created in 2007 by two Americans and two Zambians. Zambikes manufactures, assembles and distributes bicycles made from local materiala. For example, the Bamboo Bike is an all-terrain, light and resilient bamboo bike.
Other bikes are designed with a hitch to transport loads or people. This is an example of “zambulances” that can transfer sick people to a clinic or hospital. All profits from bike sales are repaid to the associations or NPO’s.
Incremental innovation is what makes this a unique and creative project! It’s very creative to use bamboo to manufacture bicycles.
Designed using local materials, the price of this bicycle is accessible for the average citizen. Knowing how transportation costs can hinder development, this project can resolve several problems, such as: reducing the distance between school and village, market and village, hospital and village and in a moment, become a leverage to economic and social progress. The ecological production method is over and above the fact that the bike is an energy-efficient mode of transportation, low risk and takes up little space. When used, it leaves a small environmental footprint.
Economically speaking, the project has the potential to spread more quickly in the local and regional markets. The bamboo culture can be intensively developed compared to materials originally used in bike manufacturing, such as: steel, chrome, carbon fibre, titanium, etc.
Bicycles are always one of the most used individual vehicles in many developing countries. The image of an Asian city bursting with bicycles is a frequently used cliché.
In developing countries to date, bicycles transport sick people to the hospital, bring working women to remote health centres to give birth, give young people access to education when there are no schools in their village, allow people to travel independently as cars remain a costly mode of transportation reserved for the wealthy.
In European cities, but mostly in China and a few other countries in South-East Asia, bicycles reduce the concentration of the downtown population by giving workers an efficient way to get around between their homes in suburbs and their workplaces in the city. Using horses also decreased in the same period.
The project uses a social entrepreneurial model that combines social innovation with the business model.