“A bike can make the difference between going to school or not, making ends meet … or a matter of life.”
That’s Porteur’s founder and entrepreneur, Jimmy Ostholm speaking about the mission behind his social enterprise. Their goal is to make bicycle ownership a reality for the millions of people living in developing countries who have never had the opportunity to own one.
How Bicycles from Porteur Solve World Issues
Those living in abject poverty are usually without a personal form of transportation. They cannot own a vehicle, and most likely don’t own a horse or a bicycle either. It is estimated that in Africa alone, more than 100 million bicycles are needed to serve the poorest living on the continent. As such, when it comes to getting to work, the hospital, or fleeing danger, they are left with only their own two feet or less-than-reliable public transportation methods. A bicycle can literally shorten the lengths to which those living in poverty need to go to access basic services, earn an income, and protect themselves.
Porteur wants to speak into these problems by offering people in developing countries the opportunity to own a bicycle. The Porteur bicycle is actually the name of a bicycle design that came out of the WWII era during a time when Europe was rebuilding. Bicycles were commonly used, especially for transporting cargo and other goods. They were first utilized by newspaper couriers in Paris carrying up to 50 kg of newspaper on the front carrier. But the Porteurs were eventually adopted by other small business owners, including bakeries, cafes, and wine distributors.
Jimmy hope to apply the utility of the Porteur bicycle to the developing world to help those living in poverty overcome some of their challenges through bicycle poverty reduction. But Porteur is adding a stylish twist to the old design. They allow you to create your own custom bike, adding unique carrier options and stylish accessories such as a rain cape, Bobike child seat, helmet, or bike lock. Then in return for your purchase, working on a one-for-one basis, the company donates one bicycle to a kid in a developing country. The bicycles that are donated are distributed through the Porteur Foundation which supports projects of Unicef.
About this Entrepreneur for a Change: Jimmy Ostholm
Founder and CEO of The Porteur Foundation, Jimmy Ostholm wanted to take the one-for-one mantra and apply it to bicycles while providing stylish alternatives for those living in developed countries. Jimmy has worked as a business partner and then a business owner, first for an ad agency, and then as a brand and design consultant. He was inspired to take on this initiative after reading an article on the impact bicycles can make in young girls’ lives.
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