Kwabena Danso is a dreamer and a go-getter, a man determined to change the world around him and make a positive impact on several lives! He is a self-motivated young person driven by a passion to contribute to the fight against poverty through the introduction of pragmatic social intervention systems and policies.
Kwabena, a social entrepreneur who works in rural communities to provide educational and economic opportunities to the deprived is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Booomers International Ltd and also doubles as the Executive Director of the Yonso Project. He has had a life-long interest in rural development.
Interested in promoting programs that uplifts the poor in rural communities, Kwabena is an old student of the Presbyterian Boys Secondary School, Legon and a graduate of the University of Ghana, where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He also holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration – Finance from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
After his first degree, Kwabena decided to move back to his village, Yonso, to initiate communal activities to help improve educational opportunities for the people. There, he co-founded the Yonso Project, a non-governmental and rural community development organization in 2007. After a series of activities as part of the Yonso Project for seven years, Kwabena founded Booomers International, a company that specializes in the production of bicycles from Bamboo.
“I am a social entrepreneur and my interest is to promote development in rural areas. Under the Yonso Project, we have managed to provide educational interventions such as scholarships, building libraries and reading programs in rural communities. Also, Booomers International produces and market bamboo bicycles and accessories worldwide. The company trains young people in rural communities with the required skills to make the bicycles and then employ them which reduces the rural-urban drift. Providing the youth with jobs also empowers them economically thereby addressing the issues of poverty”, Kwabena said.
Booomers International commenced operations in 2009 but was incorporated under the laws of the Republic of Ghana in 2014. Currently, the company is Ghana’s leading producer and exporter of bamboo bicycles which are distributed in 6 countries with the target of entering strategic European and American markets before the end of the year.
As an advocate for community development, Kwabena shared some of his experiences. “It has been very challenging, sometimes good and other times bad. It has not been a smooth journey but I know that is necessary for our growth. Growing a business in our environment is never easy but once you persist and you are able to break the grounds, then you are sure you can survive in any other environment.
Obviously, funding is one of the obstacles in an environment like ours. Access to credit for small businesses like mine is always a challenge so a program like ENGINE which is supported by the UKaid is very important. I started my entrepreneurial journey as an advocate for the rural poor and due to my stance to ensure that the rights of the poor are protected, I was badly affected and was nearly thrown into jail because some big men in society wanted to have their way with things which I resisted. But all what I went through thought me to be honest at all times. In our part of the world, being straight forward with people always gets you into problems and that was my case”.
According to Kwabena, he started his business without capital. His trainer provided him with the needed inputs and had to produce the bicycles for him to be paid. That was how he earned a living between 2009 and 2010 until he participated and won the Airtel Touching Lives campaign. As part of the winning package, he was provided with resources in 2012 to increase his capacity.
“As a poor boy from the village with no connections at the time, it was really difficult for me to continue running my business. Apart from that, we also had to battle with the erratic electricity supply, exchange rate fluctuations as we import some of our raw materials, high taxes on inputs and poor infrastructure. The challenges were enormous but in all I am happy to have come this far”.
Kwabena is a global fellow of the International Youth Foundation and a recipient of the Government of Ghana instituted National Youth Achievers Award in 2012. He was also the winner of the ENGINE Business Plan competition run by Technoserve with support from the UKaid and also a finalist in the Africa Entrepreneurship Awards organised by the BMCE Bank.
According to Kwabena, his goal is to develop the bamboo village and by so doing create more jobs and also come out with other products from bamboo. “We see Booomers developing into a multi-billion bamboo industry and probably the biggest in Africa. This is part of our expansion plan to have hundreds of product lines and thousands of hectares of bamboo plantation across Africa. We would like to move our products into over 20 countries around the world in the next 10 years”.
Personally, Kwabena’s goal is to develop other people and become a successful social entrepreneur with the ability to create several businesses that will not only provide jobs to the people but also uplift those lower on the social ladder. “The dream is to own Danso Group of companies and the journey is just starting”!