Whirlwind Wheelchair International: Franchise Opportunities


Dear Colleagues,

The U.N. Standard for the Equalization of opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the World Health Assembly Resolution WHA58.23 all point to the importance of wheelchairs and other assistive devices for those in need in the developing world.  In light of the realities of the developing world, however, few of those who need wheelchairs have one and many who do have one have an inappropriate one; insufficient production facilities exist, and too often wheelchairs are donated without necessary related services.


Since 1980, Whirlwind Wheelchair International has been designing good wheelchairs for active use in rough urban and rural areas in developing countries.  These chairs are built in the countries themselves with local materials, and training is provided to local people in the manufacture and maintenance of the chairs, thus creating both business and employment opportunities in the community.  Whirlwind Wheelchair International was a key contributor to the recently published WHO guidelines on the provision of manual wheelchairs in less resourced settings to assist WHO member states in creating and developing a local wheelchair provision system, thereby implementing Article 4, 20, and 26 of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD).


Whirlwind currently has franchise establishments in Vietnam, South Africa and Mexico and is now building certified “RoughRiders™” in those countries.  Turkey, the Philippines, and India should be certified by the end of 2009.  Brazil is in the works, as well.  A manufacturer that is part of the franchise network is entitled to the following:


·               Rough Rider design

·               2D and 3D SolidWorks drawings

·               Jig and fixtures

·               Technology transfer and training

·               Facility development

·               Remote quality control

·               Formal quality certification

·               Free design updates

·               Right of first refusal on new designs

·               Marketing assistance and wheelchair orders generated by Whirlwind


Another important part of Whirlwind’s ongoing efforts is the development of training materials and support for local infrastructures to ensure that each person in need gets the most appropriate and well-fitted chair.  For more information on how to qualify to become a Whirlwind francisee or to purchase RoughRider wheelchairs, please contact Marc Krizack, Executive Director, by email at marc@whirlwindwheelchair.org


Tapan Banerjee,Ph.D.
Senior Advisor to Whirlwind Wheelchair International
Phone: 703-981-3478  Fax: 703-847-1327

Email: tapan@whirlwindwheelchair.org


Tapan Banerjee,Ph.D.
Senior Advisor
Whirlwind Wheelchair International
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue, SCI 251
San Francisco, CA 94132
Phone: 703-981-3478
Fax: 703-847-1327
Whirlwind Phone: 415-338-6277
Web: www.whirlwindwheelchair.org

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