A GLASGOW entrepreneur has relaunched a funding round aimed at getting his lightweight power wheelchair to market.

Alex Papanikolaou, who has athetoid cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair on a daily basis, founded Freedom One Life in 2013 after finding traditional power chairs lacking because the life of their batteries and tyres was too short.

Having originally planned an investment round of £1.2 million last year, Mr Papanikolaou has broken that sum into three tranches and is currently seeking to raise £250,000 via crowdfunding site Syndicate Room.

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The next two tranches will be for £350,000 and £600,000 respectively.

“The £250,000 will allow us to get to market and sell a few chairs,” Mr Papanikolaou said.

“The £350,000 will allow us to scale throughout the UK and the £600,000 to scale to Scandinavia and the US.

“This round is very much the last hurdle to getting to market - we even have customers lined up waiting to buy.”

A quarter of the cash has already been put up by Wood Group chairman Ian Marchant and Stuart Macdonald, the managing director of cyber security business Seric Systems.

According to former Scottish and Southern Energy chief executive Mr Marchant, who has been investing in businesses in a personal capacity for the past four years, Freedom One Life was attractive because it is looking to “solve a real problem faced by an increasing number of people”.

“Their deep understanding of the customer need and issues with the current products on the market is the company’s biggest strength,” he said.

Mr Macdonald, meanwhile, has been involved with Freedom One Life for the past four years, acting as a mentor to Mr Papanikolaou and serving as a non-executive director on the business’s board.

Mr Papanikolaou first came up with the idea for the business while travelling the world and finding that the battery life on traditional power chairs meant he spent significant amounts of time sitting in cafes waiting for it to charge.

Having personally covered thousands of miles in the Freedom One prototype, Mr Papanikolaou said the business has recently completed the fourth version of the chair, which includes “a more integrated design and look, a tilt function for pressure relief and customisation seating options”.

The money raised will allow the company to put the chair out for wider user testing.

“Starting the user trials depends on us securing this funding so that we can progress the development of the chair to a state ready for many different users,” Mr Papanikolaou said.

“We have however engaged with several users and have a constantly increasing waiting list of people that can’t wait to try our chair.”

In addition to designing the chair, Mr Papanikolaou also provides consultancy to businesses on how to be more inclusive in their recruitment processes.

As well as working with companies such as HSBC and IBM he advised the government of the United Arab Emirates when it was setting up a recruitment agency for disabled people in the region.

Freedom One Life has previously received £350,000 of grant funding from Scottish Enterprise and the Prince’s Trust.