Making a difference
Founded by a young Ethiopian entrepreneur Abel Hailegiorgis, the company began its work in 2019 by addressing a need for improved mobility for wheelchair users in Addis Ababa. With some seed funding from an international NGO in Addis Ababa, Abel was able to set about designing wheelchairs made from bamboo. Since then Abel has gained experience working at the Bamboo Bike Club in Munich and more recently participated in a three-month training and mentorship programme organised by the UN’s Global Green Growth Institute where bamboo labs won one of the Green Mobility awards.
Ethiopia possesses the largest area of bamboo in Africa, estimated at around 1.75 million hectares excluding smallholdings and amounting to approximately 70% of all bamboo grown in Africa. As a resource bamboo is highly renewable, sustainable, and easy to grow. With an incredible tensile strength stronger than steel and a compressive strength comparable to concrete, bamboo also has the properties to absorb shocks and vibrations.
Over the past decade there has been a growing realisation in Ethiopia of the potential of the bamboo industry. bamboo labs is part of a wider initiative among bamboo producers in Ethiopia to bring to market high-value bamboo products such as furniture, bicycles and cosmetics.