Ethiopian-born Bowflex Inventor and Entrepreneur Passed Away

DoshoLittle Ethiopia received a very sad announcement about the passing away of an Ethiopian born inventor and manufacturer early this morning.

Dosho Tessema Shifferaw who Invented the Bowflex exercise machines and the founder of Dosho Designs, Inc (DDI). He was selected as the recipient of National Director’s Award for Entrepreneurial Innovation, awarded by the US Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) on September 12, 2005. This prestigious award honors individuals or organizations with an outstanding record of entrepreneurial innovation that demonstrates commercial utility, contributes to the public and private sector of the economy, and brings visibility to the national minority business enterprise community. MBDA granted this award for Shifferaw’s invention of the revolutionary Bowflex exercise system and his creation of an exercise equipment line.

He came to America at age 17 with just $500 in his pocket and supported himself working as a cab driver. While working on a student project at San Francisco City College, Dosho came up with the idea for the Bowflex exercise machine. He patented the concept and attempted to license the idea to fitness equipment manufacturers. Lacking vision, they all declined. He then wrote a business plan with help from the MBDA, and started marketing the product directly to consumers in the early 1980s. He led his company to a successful IPO, forming a public company called Direct Focus, Inc. (DFXI) with a market cap of over $1 billion. Millions of Bowflex units have been sold in the United State and abroad, and the brand is now owned and marketed by The Nautilus Group (NYSE:NLS). Dosho has 14 patents and 4 pending patents worldwide.

Shiferaw was the son of Major General Shiferaw Tessema who served under Emperor Haile Selassie’s Ground forces and the Genet Military Academy. He was also well known among-st Washingtonian Diasporas for his support in the establishment of an Ethiopian advocacy group known as the Ethiopian American Constituency (EAC) in 2000.

Source: African Sun Times