There is absolutely no correlation between women and bamboo, one would think. Especially since men have earned the reputation of being the growers of bamboo. Since ladies and bamboo are often taken as distant cousins, it is worth mentioning that Bernice Dapaah – a young lady, has defied the odds by developing bikes from bamboo.
Bernice Dapaah is the Executive Director of the Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative, a socio-ecological green initiative that addresses the quadruple problems of climate change, poverty, rural-urban migration and high unemployment amongst the youth in rural Ghana by creating employment opportunities and sustainable livelihood job skills for the youth through the building of high quality handcrafted second generation bamboo bikes for the international export markets. Ghana Bamboo Bikes have sold over 2000 bamboo bikes and frames per year and has employed about 20 people. All these have been made possible through the hard work and watchful eye of Bernice Dapaah a budding social entrepreneur.
Bernice is a graduate of the Christian Service University College in Kumasi. She studied Business Administration whilst in school and went on to study Human Resource Management and Marketing at the Institute of Commercial Management UK. Her desire to travel on the entrepreneurship road was triggered by one of her lecturers while at college. As Executive Director of Ghana Bamboo Bikes, Bernice ensures that the Initiative runs smoothly, develops quality bikes and achieves set targets. She also serves as the National Coordinator of the National Free Shoes and Educational Supply Program, a program that distributes free brand new shoes and educational materials to children.
As a social entrepreneur, Bernice uses her bamboo bike Initiative to solve the problem of rural-urban migration while empowering the youth particular girls to do something for society. Bernice is a risk taker and a goal getter. Prior to setting up the Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative, she had to struggle with a market that had no interest in bikes made from bamboo. Another major challenge was the absence of people with technical knowledge on how to make bamboo bikes and finally, the wrong motion people had about a Non-Governmental Organization. But in all these, Bernice stood the test of time and pulled her weight behind her decision to set up the bamboo bike initiative, which she was able to do and has managed effectively to date.
Joining a relevant organization is essential for any entrepreneur if he or she will thrive in a particular field. And so Bernice is a member of the 2013 Vital Voices Lead Fellow, a member of the Entrepreneurship Forum and the Economic Forum of the Global Agenda Council on Biodiversity and Natural Capital. Bernice is an inspiration to all ladies and for those who yearn to be great. Her bamboo bikes can be ranked as one of Ghana’s greatest exports, especially when the United Nation Secretary General, Ban-Ki Moon rode on it. threesixtyGh supports Bernice Dapaah and admonishes her to continue being the lady with the Bamboo swag.