The Freeplay Energy Group was founded in 1995 to produce wind up radios. The company produced its first radios in 1996. It took its social responsibilities seriously from the beginning and in 1998 founded the Freeplay Foundation to enable the sustained delivery of radio information and education to the most vulnerable populations via self-powered radios. The company has transformed itself from a vertically integrated organization with internal responsibility for all business areas into a business-to-business energy company using outsourcing where appropriate and focusing on the core areas of design, development and marketing. The Freeplay Foundation funded the development of the Lifeline radio, the first radio developed specifically for the humanitarian sector which was successfully launched in April 2003. At the beginning of 2004 The Freeplay Energy Group and the Freeplay Foundation faced important decisions about their future to ensure the future growth and sustainability of both organizations.
Case B updates the original by two additional years. In this time the Freeplay Group undertakes an IPO, listing on the UK stock exchange as Freeplay Energy plc. The Freeplay Foundation continues to receive support from the new public company and expands its projects to bring communication and energy to the most “underdeveloped” areas of Africa but must also look elsewhere for support and funding. Freeplay Energy also undertakes significant expansion in Africa, with its innovative “wind-up” mobile phone charger a key product in this market.