Every hipster is familiar with the power of two wheels. Whether riding around town, commuting to work or cruising with friends, the bicycle is gaining in popularity and becoming both a status symbol and accessory in today’s most prominent cities. For one couple, the bicycle has become much more than just a way to show your hipster culture. It’s a powerful way to end poverty.
In a country with 40% unemployment, business opportunity is paramount and can affect everything from education to health to human trafficking. “We believe that free enterprise is one of the best ways to address poverty,” says Caleb Spear, Owner of Portal Bikes in Nepal. By offering customized bicycles they are giving people a way to interrupt the cycle of poverty perpetuated for generations.
What once would take multiple trips and hours of work can now be delivered with a Portal Cargo bike in one trip across town – saving time and money. Utilizing a Portal Bike means accepting more delivery jobs and making more money, it also means increasing profit by reducing freight costs, which make for stronger family businesses.
Using a Portal Bike in Nepal is good business for delivery and courier jobs, but bike businesses in Nepal go a lot further than just basic taxi services or delivery. Simple chores like husking corn used to take hours and pay basically nothing, but with a quick attachment to the bicycle, minimal time and effort means more earning potential. Bikes can be used to transport people to health clinics or even transport clinics to the people and healthy people can attend school, work and start more businesses.
When hours are freed up in the day people have opportunity that they didn’t before – opportunity to pursue education, for instance – and when financial stability is offered in a country plagued by poverty, the effects can be as far reaching as decreasing human trafficking. If a person can start his or her own business in Nepal they won’t have to risk traveling to a foreign country to find work in questionable situations.
“I think the most exciting thing is how much people in Nepal love this project. Everyone is so excited . . . and we are taken aback by the momentum,” says Spear. To empower the people of Nepal, Portal Bikes is using sales, subsidies and micro-loans, all of which add a dimension of investment into their business model, which has been proven to be a factor in long-term success.
From pedal powered washing machines to corn huskers and mobile tea shops, the possibilities are endless when a company can create custom parts and turn a simple two-wheeled structure into a life-changing man-powered machine. Where would you expand the Portal Bike model? What development could you see changing people’s lives? Share your thoughts @StarterNoise #BikeLove