How we've helped Behaviour Change Cornwall
A green-thinking entrepreneur who transforms ‘lost’ fishing nets into jewellery and homeware.
I can’t stress enough how helpful Growth Hub have been in helping us to discover what’s out there.
How we helped
Sam Gill, founder of Behaviour Change Cornwall, scours the shores and coastline of Cornwall for discarded plastic and fishing nets, which he and his team then use to create handmade bracelets, necklaces, earrings and more.
The distinctive designs are already hugely popular and the number of orders coming through has far exceeded what the team expected. With demand rising further still, Sam and the team knew they needed help to steer their ocean-positive business in the right direction.
“We realised we had to look at taking the next step,” said Sam. “One of our team members had already been helped by Growth Hub, so I decided to give them a call.”
That was back in May and since then, Growth Hub’s experts have been able to direct Sam, 26, towards a range of different organisations that can help with grants and funding, as well as practical business support.
“There was this whole world of grants and agencies out there that we didn’t even know existed,” said Sam, who has a degree in sustainable futures from the University of Exeter.
“We live in a coastal town in Cornwall, and you just never really hear of these sorts of opportunities. If they’re not on your radar, how are you going to access them? I can’t stress enough how helpful Growth Hub have been in helping us to discover what’s out there.”
With Growth Hub’s help, Sam has been able to investigate funding for new pieces of machinery, designed to break down hard plastics and mould them into different products.
It means Behaviour Change Cornwall will be able to broaden its range by using a wider variety of washed-up plastics, 70 per cent of which are thought to come from lost or discarded fishing nets – so called ‘ghost nets’.
The money raised from selling the sought-after jewellery and home accessories then goes back into funding more of Behaviour Change Cornwall’s beach cleans along the Cornish coast.
“It’s grown from being a sustainable movement into being a sustainable business,” said Sam. “It’s been amazing to see the behaviour change we’ve been able to see so far. One little boy told me he wants to go out and do more beach cleans and another woman recently brought us a huge length of rope that she’d found during her dog walk on the coast.”
Sam says his business has already attracted interest from television companies and magazines, keen to showcase such an inspiring green business.
“It’s been going really well,” said Sam, adding that Growth Hub’s support has definitely pushed business up a gear. “They’re a fantastic organisation for people like us,” he added.
“There are so many people out there with amazing ideas but they’re not usually who the funding goes to. Growth Hub is a huge leveller of that. They help to create more equal opportunities.”
The Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Hub from May 2016 - June 2023 was part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and match funded by Cornwall Council, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership. The project received £2,848,591.49 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.