Ella’s Kitchen founder Paul Lindley launches social business start-up for young people

Hip hop artist Emmanuel Jal also behind The Key is E, which has goal of investing in African entrepreneurs whose businesses socially benefit children

Ella’s Kitchen founder Paul Lindley has launched a social business to use entertainment, education and entrepreneurship to “empower young people to change their world for the better”.

Co-founded with friend and internationally acclaimed hip hop artist Emmanuel Jal, who is a former Sudanese child soldier turned political activist, Lindley says The Key is E’s stated goal is to invest in African entrepreneurs whose businesses socially benefit children.

“It plays exactly to my belief that entrepreneurship can solve society’s problems,” says Lindley, who added that an album recorded by Emmanuel Jal will for a major part of the start-up’s launch this week.

It follows Lindley’s participation earlier this year at the United Nations Global Accelerator summit, where a select group of entrepreneurs met to discuss solutions to global issues.

Passionate about children’s health and wellbeing issues, Lindley is also a counsellor for London-based charity One Young World and an ambassador for the Family and Childcare Trust

“The launch has been timed to coincide with the world premiere of the film The Good Lie in which Emmanuel stars with Reese Witherspoon and the soundtrack from which contains two of our songs,” Lindley told Startups.

Describing entrepreneurs as “agents of change” Lindley, who has joined the judging panel of the Startups Awards 2014, is seeking 10 innovators capable of creating social businesses that utilise their ingenuity for the good of children in Africa.

The Key is E will then provide the entrepreneurs with seed or growth capital through a loan or equity investment, African expatriate mentors, enablers and micro investors, school link-ups, crowdfunding loan opportunities, plus other tools and access to a supportive network of entrepreneurs.

Lindley has turned producer for the music project that will support the start-up. The resulting album The Key, which features Emmanuel Jal’s collaborations with the likes of Nelly Furtado, Peter Gabriel and Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels of Run DMC, has been recorded as part of the co-founders’ desire to “unearth a music-driven project that focuses on children’s rights and issues, and provide a much needed view on the Africa of today as seen through their eyes”.

Lindley remains at Hain Celestial, the American natural and organic children’s foods group giant, as CEO of the Global Infant Toddler and Kids division, where he continues to oversee Ella’s Kitchen and leading US organic kids food brand Earth’s Best.

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