As we’re coming to the end of our Q1 theme ‘purpose’ I wanted to go out with a bang. I wanted to share with you a story that inspires me and something that needs to be shared far and wide. You know when you meet someone who is so passionate about something that they make you feel the same! That’s why I asked my friend Paul at Relove Technology to share his story of his journey of launching his business which is a social enterprise that reinvests at least 50% of profits back into the community to support disadvantaged, at risk and underrepresented children and young adults. See below for what he had to say…
Why are we doing this? This is a question that I get asked daily! Do we really need another mobile phone company? They ask. Yes we do! A social enterprise? What’s that then? A charity? Not quite! Our company goes much deeper than just selling fantastic refurbished mobile tech. Let me explain!
I have been in the mobile phone industry for a long time, a very long time. Back when to a time you used to get excited about the latest mobile phone launch. You marvelled at the latest tech packed into a tiny package. I even remember how excited I was making a video call from Sydney, Australia to London whilst working at Three when they launched their 3G video calling service. It was the stuff that we dreamed of as kids, being able to talk and see anybody anywhere!
Being in the mobile industry, the pace of change was relentless. The frequent product launches, mass adoption by the general population has led the mobile to being one of the most indispensable, must have products you cannot do without. We probably all experienced that sinking feeling from when we have lost or damaged our mobiles and how cut off we felt!
However, these rapid product launches, the crazy, almost addictive desire to have the latest mobile was creating a problem. Since the smartphone was launched in the UK back in 2007, we have probably seen in excess of over 250 million devices being purchased just in the UK alone. In 2020, over 1.5 billion devices were shipped worldwide!
Roll forward to 2021 and we are in the middle of a pandemic, but with hope firmly on the horizon now the roadmap out of lockdown has been published. No doubt, the mobile has been a life saver to many during these times, from simple social contact through to keeping many businesses running. But we also have an environmental crisis, with excessive e-waste generated from mass consumerism and also an ever increasing social divide because of economic difficulties faced by many. These issues are going to take a monumental effort to fix but it can be done. Look at what has been achieved with developing vaccines and getting them rolled out! All in just 12 months. How we manage the social divide and environmental crisis will be our legacy and its something that cannot be ignored any longer.
We adopted our daughter a couple of years ago and it gave me great insight about survival on so many levels. It rammed home what people would do to survive in an environment that they are not in control of. I also have talked to a few people who are working with young adults involved in gangs, its not always a choice but a matter of survival. Something I am thankful for that I did not have to experience and something I can hopefully fix for my daughter.
As I have grown older, I have also become more passionate about the environment, particularly around technology recycling and reuse, for a number of years now. Don’t get me wrong, I love my tech and would be completely lost with it. But since 2010, I have always strived to buy my tech second hand. Two things struck me when I did. First, it was way cheaper. I had the latest iPhone but saved hundreds on the price and secondly, you could not tell the difference between new and second hand after a few weeks of using it. All I had done was skip the excitement of opening a new box and managed to save a few hundred pounds as a result! Winner!
The other thing that I am really passionate about, is how can we ensure that everyone has an equal chance in getting on in life. I was fortunate when I was younger. Not being the brightest spark and leaving school with more D’s, E’s and F’s than spaghetti soup, somebody gave me a chance of an apprenticeship and further education. Something that I am still truly grateful for today. Within 5 years of leaving school, I had started my first business. I accelerated from starting in a bedsit to a multimillion pound business employing 200 people. But, I became over confident, over traded and blew it. So after a period of life in corporate and helping out other businesses to help them avoid making the same mistakes that I made, I wanted to start a new business, but with a difference. I wanted to make sure I was held accountable by our purpose and our mission. I knew I wanted the business to be a force for good but also knew that it had to be commercial, so it could scale to make a difference. So looking at my options, I knew mobile, had deep connections within the industry, demand for mobile was still unsated and very passionate about recycling tech. So it made sense to focus on this as a business!
So after a couple false starts, we finally launched Relove Technology in 2020! In hindsight, may not have been the best year to start but I have enjoyed (and fretted) over the hustle to survive and grow! Relove Technology is a certified social enterprise where we refurbish mobile technology and sell to consumers and businesses looking for high quality refurbished products. We are committed to reinvesting at least 50% of our profits back into the community to support disadvantaged, at risk and underrepresented children and young adults to rewrite their futures.
By providing very high quality refurbished mobiles and other tech which customers will love, we can reinvest the profits to make a difference. Everyone wins! So not a charity but a commercial business that’s equally focused on people, planet profits. By operating as a commercial business and creating profits, we can employ people who may be overlooked normally and fund future community projects / initiatives that will help change people’s perspective from being a survivalist to somebody that can rewrite their own future for the better.
We only just started and have a long way to go but mobile by mobile, we hope to make that difference.
Support Relove Technology and get yourself a shiny as-new device today!