Founded by Ben Mitchell and John Gershenson, Baisikeli Ugunduzi stemmed from a mutual love for bicycles, a desire to make a difference in Africa and an interest in social business. After spending time in Kenya, we became hooked by the possibility to completely revolutionize how bikes are perceived and valued in SSA. Upon sharing the idea further, it is clear that working with Africans to develop bicycle products for Africans will have real, lasting impact.
John Gershenson, Co-founder, CEO
John loves bicycles, innovation, and human-centered design. A Professor of Mechanical Engineering, John is in charge of growing the business, enlisting capital, distribution agreements, and new product development. He has 15 years’ experience working with grants, has served as president of two small non-profits, developed successful fund raising programs, and served as a strategic planning consultant to several manufacturing organizations. John’s leadership and ability to convince are ideal during the growth phase.
Ben Mitchell, Co-founder, COO
Ben loves Africa, bicycles, and engineering. A Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering, Ben is a returned Peace Corps volunteer from the Small Enterprise Development program in Burkina Faso and has over three years of experience working in Africa. After two years living in a remote village of Burkina Faso and a 2,500km bicycle trip through five West African countries, Ben understands the opportunity and value bicycles offer rural Africans. Ben thrives on motivating and relating to rural Africans; his social understanding has proven to attract customers and potential partners in Kenya.
Jackie Johnson, Marketing Director
Jackie loves mountain biking, design, and travel. She has a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art and for the past three years has worked as a graphic designer at Michigan Technological University where she met John and Ben. Jackie is thrilled to live and work alongside fellow bicycle enthusiasts in Kenya. She values the opportunity to gain an understanding of Kenyan culture while creating fun and impactful design that will improve the livelihoods of boda boda and their families. She also hopes to increase the number of women cyclists in Kenya.
Owen Dodd, Videographer
A graduate from the University of Montana in 2005, Owen served with the Peace Corps as a health volunteer in Burkina Faso and Guyana from 2006-2009. Currently, Owen is a graduate student at The New School for International Affairs concentrating in media and culture. Baisikeli Ugunduzi was pleased to have Owen join the team and volunteer his filming and photography skills from June through August. His work will soon be revealed in Baisikeli Ugunduzi’s Indiegogo.com campaign set to launch in September as well as his documentary on the life of boda boda in Kitale, Kenya to be released later this year.
Phil Musser - Executive Director of the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance
Andy McConnell - Patent lawyer and former president of Boyle Fredrickson
Eliakim Maleche - Former Secondary School Teacher in Kitale, Kenya