Most Innovative Companies

World Bicycle Relief

World Bicycle Relief is a Chicago-based global nonprofit that provides specially designed, locally assembled bicycles to entrepreneurs, health care workers, and students in rural Africa via NGOs and on work-to-own or study-to-own programs. WBR designs, manufactures, and distributes the bikes while also training field mechanics in those rural areas to ensure access to maintenance and parts. With 11 outposts in Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America, the nonprofit hopes to remove the barrier of distance to those in rural areas who would work, study, or seek health care away from their homes. Founded in 2005, WBR's business has two tiers. First, there's the charitable arm, which provides bicycles to students and healthcare workers through study-to-own and work-to-own programs and NGOs. Then, there's the nonprofit's Buffalo Bicycle social enterprise, a wholly owned subsidiary that sells durable and reliable bikes to individuals, mainly entrepreneurs and farmers. To date, WBR has distributed more than 285,000 bicycles and trained more than 1,000 mechanics, empowering more than a million Africans--many of them women and girls--trying to get an education, run a business, or simply make their way around their communities faster.
2016: Africa
public or private: Private
users: 1 million+