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  • Ron Fry
    Ron Fry The TOM's Shoes pay forward innovation applied to bicycles to help young girls in developing regions.
    March 16
  • Alec Simon
    Alec Simon By providing bikes to girls in Ghana, Velosophy will help facilitate their education, which is immensly important and valuable.
    March 16

Choosing Bikes for a Better World

Date published: 16 Mar 2017
Sweden     0 likes   2

Overview

Velosophy's innovation is to sell designer bicycles and for each bicycle that they sell, Velosophy will donate a bicycle to a schoolgirl in Ghana. Giving a bike to girls in Ghana helps girls to commute to school and still be able to participate in the housework. The need for inexpensive transportation in developing countries is huge and bicycles provide an environmentally friendly source of transportation.

innovation photo

Innovation

When Jimmy Östholm started the company Velosophy he wanted to work with bicycles due to huge problems with traffic and associated environmental and health issues in cities, but he also wanted something more. Jimmy read an article about paying it forward, which in brief means that customers pay a little extra so that someone else can have something similar. He went to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and pitched the idea to them, and after 15 minutes they said "we're in." UNHCR had a project going with bikes in developing countries and Jimmy decided to partner specifically with Ghana.

Overall impact

Buyers directly help someone somewhere else by buying bikes. They give a girl the same chance to attend education as boys. It also makes the environment a little bit better in the long run.

 

Inspiration

Almost all of his life Jimmy had been an entrepreneur but in past he he was employed as a consultant in management and building trademarks. He saw a lot of work getting done with inventing some sort of Corporate Social Relationship work but he never felt that it was built in to the companies’ DNA.

The idea started out with the fact that he wanted to do something with bicycles and something good for the world. After this start-up and making sure it is running smoothly, Jimmy plans to be more involved with city planning for bikes and start up bike factories in the developing countries so they don't have to be exported. Electrical bikes and electrical transportation vehicles are some areas he sees coming.

 

Business benefit

With the word that you help someone else by buying a new bike you build a story that is easy for customers to tell others. That is marketing by word of mouth, and customers telling others themselves about the "pay it forward" story. And he has gotten a lot of media both in Sweden and over Europe. So his CSR intentions built in his organization's DNA has gotten him a lot of free advertisement and made it take off really fast.

Social and environmental benefit

With that in mind, that you help someone to transport themselves easier and in a cleaner way, you get added sense of satisfaction and meaning while you take your new bike for a ride to work. The environment gets a little cleaner, you become healthier, and the surroundings in your neighborhood gets a little bit cleaner and better.

 

Interview(s)

Jimmy Östholm, CEO/Owner

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2 comments
  • Ron Fry
    Ron Fry The TOM's Shoes pay forward innovation applied to bicycles to help young girls in developing regions.
    March 16
  • Alec Simon
    Alec Simon By providing bikes to girls in Ghana, Velosophy will help facilitate their education, which is immensly important and valuable.
    March 16