A young business which aims to help consumers find ethical products and connect small-scale suppliers with potential customers has won a prestigious Shell Livewire Grand Ideas award.
Ethical Community is run by Liam Patterson, who is a student at the University of Leeds and Jason Dainter, an alumnus of the University. Its planned web portal, http://www.ethicalcommunity.com/ provides those interested in ethical produce with a place to learn more about the products and the people behind them.
"Consumers want ethical products, but there's a lot of conflicting information out there about what's considered ethical and what isn't," explains Dainter. "And there's a lot of great ethical products out there, but some suppliers, in particular smaller concerns, lack the tools and resources to communicate effectively with their customers. What Ethical Community will do is provide a platform for shoppers to learn not only about products, but also about the people and story behind the products."
Dainter graduated in 2005, whilst business partner Patterson is still at University, studying Environment and Business. Patterson's entrepreneurial spirit was recognised by the University in 2008, when he was awarded an Enterprise Scholarship to help progress his business ideas.
The pair is in constant contact with the University, particularly with Spark, the business start-up section of the Careers Centre. "The Careers Centre has been incredibly supportive," says Dainter. "And we often use work placement students for particular projects. Having the support and encouragement of the Careers Centre has been invaluable, and we've formed a good bond with the University which I think will help us as we develop the business."
The Shell Livewire award recognises the potential of Ethical Community and has also provided Dainter and Patterson with £1000 to develop their business concept. Dainter (24) and Patterson (21) have both had other successful businesses. Jason says: "Our experiences with other businesses means we've been able to write a really robust business plan for Ethical Community and we've already got investors interested in it."
Ethical Community aims to launch its website towards the end of summer 2009.
Jason Dainter can be contacted on 07769553545 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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