A young entrepreneur on a mission to banish harmful fuels from the planet has secured funding from Finance Yorkshire to develop a range of cleaner, safer candles and firelighters.
Lewis Bowen founded Air Global upon graduating from Sheffield Hallam University five years ago, in response to the millions of deaths that occur annually from indoor air pollution caused by harmful fuels such as paraffin, wood and kerosene.
The company’s best known product is LightMe, a bio-oil candle that is refined from a sustainable source of palm kernel oil. It burns more cleanly than traditional candles and extinguishes itself when knocked over.
LightMe is proving popular in emerging nations, where there is a need for alternative energy sources that are affordable and sustainable.
Finance Yorkshire has supported Air Global’s growth plans with a £300,000 investment from its Seedcorn Fund. The money will enable Air Global to invest in stock and boost marketing while researching and developing new products.
Lewis said: “Our aim as a business is to take consumer products and make them better for the environment. Our first goal has been to stop deaths occurring as a result of indoor air pollution.
“LightMe has been our most successful product to date and we are now looking to develop variations such as scented candles.
“The investment from Finance Yorkshire means that we can meet the needs of current and future customers, develop new ideas and create change for good across the world.
Air Global recorded a turnover of £150,000 last year but Lewis is targeting an increase to over £3m over the next three years.
The business also supplies camping equipment manufacturer Vango with fuel for its portable stoves and is looking to develop similar partnerships.
Air Global received a boost this year when experienced businessman and investor Chris Welsh joined the board as chairman.
Alex McWhirter, chief executive at Finance Yorkshire, said: “This investment comes at a vital time for the business, enabling it to scale up and realise the significant opportunities it sees in the market. We will continue to work alongside Air Global as they realise their growth ambitions.”
Emma Cross, investment executive at Finance Yorkshire, who joins the board as a non-executive director, said: “We were impressed by this young and entrepreneurial management team and their exciting new product range. Their passion and drive to eradicate harmful fuels, mixed with a commercial edge, makes this business one to watch.”
Since its inception, Finance Yorkshire has invested in more than 460 companies, enabling those businesses to increase their turnover by a collective £377 million and attract a further £273 million from private sector sources. Finance Yorkshire investment has helped those SMEs to create and safeguard more than 12,000 jobs in the region.
Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development.