Bright idea to tackle poverty in Africa

Studio 2080 work with Senegalese government
Studio 2080 work with Senegalese government

A young entrepreneur from Linlithgow plans to reduce poverty in West African communities with little or no resources by providing them with low-cost technology.

Jeremie Warner and his business partner, Stephen Spiers from Stirling, created Studio 2080 in 2012, with the aim of building a truly sustainable business.

The entrepreneurs work with vulnerable people to implement solutions to problems taken for granted in the developed world, focusing on four major areas for development: energy, agriculture, education and healthcare.

Studio 2080 was recently announced as one of the 38 winners of the Young Innovators Challenge, an entrepreneurial competition which rewards students who have business ideas with a positive social impact.

The duo received £4,000 funding which will help them launch the business’ two major products.

The team plans to follow a ‘buy one – give one’ business model through the sale of ‘Power a Life’ portable USB power banks here in the UK which are designed to charge any smart device.

Profits from the sale of these will then be used to deliver similar devices, free of charge, to children in African schools, providing them with electricity and light to help them study at night.

Studio 2080 will also implement low cost Micro Drip Irrigation in the rural communities they work with. The agricultural watering kits allow farmers to grow crops in areas where there is little or no rainfall, ensuring food is available all year round.

The 27-year-old is completing a PhD in advanced architectural design at the University of Strathclyde, focusing on off grid rural electrification with renewables, which explores ways to provide smaller communities with sustainable energy.

Jeremie said: “We are committed to making our vision for Studio 2080 a reality. Over the last few years we have engaged with more than 2,500 customers in Senegal as well as with the Senegalese environmental minister, and have seen the positive difference this kind of business model can make.

“These communities have very little if any resources, so something as simple as providing a light can significantly improve a child’s education by giving them more opportunity to study at night.

“The funding received from the Young Innovators Challenge will be instrumental in helping us launch Power a Life in the UK market and implementing the Micro Drip Irrigation technology in Senegal.”