IT was a lightbulb moment that ended up bringing light into the lives of young people in developing countries.

Jeremie Warner was running photographic workshops for children in Senegal when he came up with the idea for his company, Power a Life.

“Most people there live in complete darkness when the sun goes down,” explains the entrepreneur. “Children are disproportionally affected in that they have to walk home in the dark and can’t do homework at night.

“We had to do 40-kilometre round trips to charge our phones and laptops. That’s when I decided to set up a business. We specialise in portable power banks for charging mobile devices. For every one we sell, we gift a solar light to a child in a developing country.”

The buy-to-give ethos is particularly popular with younger people, explains Mr Warner, 31, who trained as an architect at the University of Strathclyde.

“Whether it’s ethical or environmental concerns, buying or not buying certain products – such as fast fashion - my generation has a very strong sense of social awareness. Younger consumers are prepared to pay a premium for that.

“And we know that our solar lights have a transformational impact. We monitored a school in Zimbabwe that we gave lights to and every child improved across maths and English. In P5, average maths scores went from 19 per cent to 56 per cent in two months. Kids there who score over 50 per cent get to go on to high school - that is literally life-changing.”

Starting the business has been life-changing for the father of two, not least because of the blood, sweat and tears required to get a product to market.

“The idea is the easy part,” he says. “The challenge comes in the design, manufacturing and financing. It’s a very tough process that brings with it stress, high blood pressure and sleepless nights.

“But it’s also really exciting. I love what I do and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We want to do well financially, of course, and we are focused on the profit to purpose ethos. But what really makes it worthwhile is when you see the reaction on the face of a kid who has a solar light because of your business.”

Mr Warner employs three freelancers to help him manufacture and sell the power banks, phone cases and cables, dealing with orders of around 50 to 100 at a time. He has ambitions, however, to be much bigger.

“Initially we targeted consumer sales, but since we focused on the corporate market things have really taken off. We know there are bigger fish out there and our next milestone is a 1000-unit order. Obviously, there will be more challenges to deal with as we scale, but it’s an exciting time for the business.”

RBS has played a key role in this expansion, giving Mr Warner access to the Entrepreneur Accelerator scheme.

“We’ve had access to some great opportunities and some really significant mentors,” he says. “And being in a cohort of other start-ups is really beneficial. It gives you a shoulder to cry on when things don’t go well and people to celebrate with when you get a win.

“What all the businesses have in common is that we keep going. Starting a company from scratch is tough, the road is long and hard. You need passion and drive, but you also need resilience.”