2018 AACSB Influential Leader

Lewis Bowen

Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Business School

United Kingdom

Nonprofit or Community-based Organization


Managing Director, AIR

Saving lives through cleaner, safer energy sources is what fuels Lewis Bowen, a businessman and humanitarian who is changing lives and providing opportunities for people in emerging countries.

Making alternative energy affordable and accessible—that is what drives Lewis Bowen the founder of AIR, a clean fuel company. He specifically focuses on the plight of citizens in emerging countries—bringing real humanitarian change to their lives.

Bowen has developed a variety of cleaner, safer candles, firelighters, and fuels to reduce the number of deaths currently attributed to indoor air pollution. His leading product, LightMe, was developed to overcome the dangers of harmful and toxic fuels, which were responsible for 4.3 million deaths a year.

Bowen has impacted the world around him in two ways. First by providing safer, cleaner fuels for use by nonprofit organizations such as the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and the Scouting Association while also providing a sustainable source of energy for less developed economies, specifically in Africa. Second, he is an inspiration because of the energy, passion, and enthusiasm he exudes when mentoring students and helping with student-run business startups, all while meeting the demands of running his own successful business.

Another driver behind Bowen’s success is his desire to mitigate the health risks of more than 3 billion people around the world who cook on open-face fires. In 2011 he met Makeliso, from Malaya laya in Lesotho. Makeliso, an elderly lady, collects firewood 16 hours per week from nearby mountains so she can cook for her family. While cooking, she is exposed to harmful pollutants such as carbon dioxide and soot, which cause harmful health problems.

By using ethanol, a product which can be fermented from many substances including pineapples, he created a sustainable, less harmful source of renewable energy in the form of a candle or gel. Bowen used this approach to provide safer, nontoxic fuel products for both home and overseas markets.

For every product sold, Bowen donates funds to be used toward starting sustainable projects. His vision is to help women like Makeliso, who spend hours collecting firewood, to gain back that time by using simpler, safer fuel sources—giving them an opportunity to improve their education and to financially support them in starting their own businesses.

Bowen graduated from Sheffield Business School in 2011 after completing a Bachelor of Science in business studies (with honors).