Incorporated in 2007, Zambikes is a social business that creates jobs for the local population, at the same time increasing access to bicycles—a crucial mode of transportation—in Zambia. Zambikes International, incorporated in 2010, offers quality bamboo bicycles for distribution worldwide. Bamboo is a resistant and light material substitute for metal. Each bike sold supports the employment of the 40 plus employees at Zambikes, many of whom use their formal employment to support their large extended families. In Zambia, unemployment is over 50 percent, so the need for formal jobs is an important aspect to its economic and social development.
Zambikes International is yet another example of how empowering individuals with jobs and giving them the opportunity to be self-sufficient can make a real difference. Workers at Zambikes do everything from assembling bikes, manufacturing bike parts and offering maintenance and repair. What’s more, all of the profits that Zambikes makes is reinvested back into the company or in community projects run by partner non-profit organizations. For instance, Zambikes has a partnership with a microfinance organization in the region so that those who do not have enough money can take out a loan in order to purchase a bike.
Zambikes has two specialized models of their innovative bicycles: the Zamcart and the Zambulance. The Zamcart is made for small businesses, individuals who work in markets and farmers, and is comparable to a wheelbarrow (but more efficient). Each Zamcart is easily attachable to a bike and can carry up to 250 kilograms. Perhaps more critical than the Zamcart, is the Zambulance which is exactly what it sounds like. The Zambulance, which was created because of the lack of transportation to hospitals and clinics, has a stretcher-like bed attached to the back of the bicycle so that sick people can be brought to the hospital with relative comfort and ease.
What is so commendable about Zambikes as a social business is that it aims to solve many social problems at once, namely, unemployment and transportation. Furthermore, because Zambikes have a sleek and cool earthy design that many people worldwide are attracted to, it is a sustainable business that has longevity in the world market.