Social enterprise start-up Power a Life is looking to make a big difference in Africa this Christmas after securing funding from Clydesdale Bank.
The Glasgow-based business has launched the wee PAL (Power a Life) re-chargable power bank, a portable charger for phones and gadgets.
Using a buy-one, give-one philosophy, for every charger bought, the company gives a solar light, free of charge, to a child in an African school. These lights offer children without electricity the chance to study at night, helping them work towards a better education leading to more opportunities for a brighter future.
To get the business off the ground, Clydesdale Bank provided funding in a deal facilitated by Relationship Manager Kevin Thomson.
Co-founders Jeremie Warner, 27 and Stephen Spiers, 25 developed the idea for wee PAL while researching sustainable development during their ongoing PhDs at the University of Strathclyde.
Jeremie said: “We’re passionate about using business as a tool to make a difference in the world and working directly with impoverished communities, empowering people with the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty. We want to offer a hand-up rather than a hand-out.
“When we travelled to Africa, we realised how difficult it was for many children to get on in education when they couldn’t study or do their homework.
“Our buy-one, give-one business model means that our customers can stay connected on the move while making a positive change to those who need it most.
“We are very grateful to Clydesdale Bank for the funding they provided. It’s helped us get our business off the ground and into the market in time for Christmas.
Stephen Buchan, Head of Clydesdale Bank’s Business and Private Banking Centre in Edinburgh, said: “Jeremie and Stephen's entrepreneurship in meeting customer needs at home whilst supporting the educational development of children in Africa, is truly inspiring.
“I look forward to continuing to work with Jeremie and Stephen to support their business growth.“
Clydesdale Bank has strengthened its support for UK SMEs by becoming the first to partner with the British Business Bank under its ENABLE Guarantees scheme. Up to £125m of new lending by Clydesdale Bank will help more small businesses achieve their growth ambitions.