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Sun 17 Jan 2016 01:52 PM

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Entrepreneurs of the Week: Rania and Zaina Kanaan, co-founders of Chari Cycles

Sisters turn their passion for cycling into a social enterprise designed to help children living in refugee camps

Entrepreneurs of the Week: Rania and Zaina Kanaan, co-founders of Chari Cycles

Palestinian-Canadian sisters Rania and Zaina Kanaan, co-founders of Chari Cycles, have turned their passion for cycling into a social enterprise designed to help children living in refugee camps across the region.

Chari Cycles sells up-cycled Japanese bicycle frames which are further remodelled according to customers' preferences.

Buyers can choose the colour of the bicycle as well as the basket design, while further customisations include decorating the baskets with flowers, providing farmer crates for the rear end, and much more.

The Kanaan sisters explain that selling five such bicycles allows them to fund one bicycle for children in a refugee camp.

”At Chari Cycles, we want to make sure every child has the right to their childhood and the freedom that comes along with it,” they state on their website pointing out that every child feels free when riding a bicycle.

The worthy recipients of our Entrepreneurs of the Week accolade have already donated more than 30 bicycles to children in refugee camps around Ramallah, Palestine, and on the border between Syria and Turkey.

While talking to StartUp Rania Kanaan said that teachers on the ground choose whom to gift a bicycle based on how much effort children invest in their studies and on the potential they show

”The bicycles are now being distributed on a weekly basis, so the reward encourages more students to work harder," she added.

It all started a few years ago when Zaina Kanaan wanted to buy a bicycle that would meet her expectations when it comes to design and price.

Dissatisfied with the choice on offer in Dubai, she decided to make her own bicycle. After watching YouTube videos on how to go about dissembling and assembling a bicycle, the sisters managed to fashion a new bike for Zaina using parts from their friends’ old bikes and repainting a second-hand frame in her favourite colour.

The enterprising sisters are also founders of Ananasa.com, an online marketplace for Middle Eastern artists and designers wishing to sell their work anywhere in the world.

Do you know an entrepreneur who deserves to be our Entrepreneur of the Week?

Please explain in 200 words why your entrepreneur of choice deserves the Entrepreneur of the Week accolade and send your nominations to tamara.pupic@itp.com

Please note that the final decisions are made at the discretion of our editorial team.

For information, tips and advice on setting up a new business or insights from those who have taken the leap into the world of entrepreneurship, click on the Arabian Business StartUp section.

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scott wolf at Grace Century 4 years ago

Congratulations on a great project