Students and alumni working together to fight plastic pollution

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Beach clean

Our Team Entrepreneurship programme at UWE Bristol is all about collaboration and innovation, so it isn’t a surprise that a seamless partnership between current students and alumni run not-for-profit, Coacoara Foundation, has recently transpired.

Kiera Hellard, founder of Ocean Raye, a small business inspired by sea glass and other ocean-related products, and third-year Team Entrepreneurship student at UWE Bristol, recently reached out to Sam Leonard, Team Entrepreneurship alum and Marketing Director at Coacoara Foundation, to collaborate and share Ocean Raye’s sea-glass jewellery on the Coacoara Foundation eco store. This was the start of a fantastic partnership between student and alum, both working together to reduce single-use plastics and fighting for a cleaner world.

“I love the work that Coacoara Foundation do so I was thrilled when they offered me the opportunity to be featured on their website alongside some other really cool eco brands. Being environmentally conscious is something that is really important to both our brands, so I think the partnership works well.”

Kiera Hellard

Coacoara Foundation was also involved with the Team Entrepreneurship’s client project where all students on the Team Entrepreneurship programme collaborate to form consultancy teams and gain real practical experience working for a client. Kiera and the team, which consisted of six Level 3 Team Entrepreneurship students and seven lower-level students, were able to raise the brand identity for Coacoara Foundation as part of the client project through creating TikTok content for them, creating an eco-activity for schools and contacting eco-stores who may want to be involved with Coacoara Foundation.

Kiera says, “It was great working with Coacoara as it meant I could get really involved with what they do and help them raise awareness for such an important issue. The team was really lovely, and it was a pleasure working on the project.”

Beth, a second-year student, said that “working with the Coacoara Foundation has been a really rewarding experience. I feel I’m able to give something back by having a better understanding of the problems our planet is currently facing and raising awareness to others who may not be so aware. Creating TikToks allowed me to be creative and work within my skill set to help promote the foundation.”

Tom, who is also a second-year, says “I loved the opportunity to work with Coacoara Foundation. I’ve always been very keen to learn about behaving ethically and to start my journey of becoming an Ecopreneur. I’ve particularly enjoyed being able to grow my knowledge of sales as it is currently very applicable to my current business – VVS consultancy. I’m very much looking forward to growing our relationship.”

“Working with the TE students was a great chance to work with young professionals that are going through the same learning process that I did. When I was on the Team Entrepreneurship course, we did a similar project with a big law firm, so it was fantastic that the team choose us to work with.

It was hugely valuable to work with the team, as they were able to not only present ideas to us, but execute those ideas in such a short time period! It’s great to also have switched on students and a fresh mindset when thinking about business problems, which benefited us extremely as they were able to open us to a market we had never thought of before.”

Sam Leonard, Marketing Director at Coacoara Foundation

Following on from this partnership, there are now around five students who are in the process of becoming ambassadors for the Coacoara Foundation which will include with their 13 other ambassadors to promote the brand and work on projects such as beach cleans, teaching in schools, fundraising and many other exciting projects to come.

One of the team members Tom says “I have chosen to stay on as an ambassador as I strongly support their vision and relish the opportunity to learn more with them.”

Another team member Lauren says “I’m an ambassador for the Coacoara Foundation because it spreads a really good message about looking after the planet, by selling and promoting biodegradable products. This is something that I’m passionate about and I want to help make a difference.”

Kiera says she is thankful to Team Entrepreneurship coach Tom de Pentheny O’Kelly for putting her in touch with Sam. What a wonderful collaboration that has come out of this partnership with students and alumni working together to promote their brands.

You can visit Coacoara’s website here and follow Ocean Raye on Instagram here.

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