Alumnus Charlie Jordan graduated this summer and has set up Ethicul with some fellow graduates. Here, he answers some of our questions….
What you have got up to since leaving the university?
I graduated this year from the University of Brighton with a First-Class Honours in BSc Business Management with Finance. Throughout my time in education, I had always been set on starting my own venture and seemed to get on well working with numbers. The earliest memory stems back to school, where I used to sell sweets in the playground (luckily I never got caught).
Amongst the chaos caused by the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19; I was keen to take an optimistic view and seize the opportunity of my time spent at home during lockdown. Myself and two of my closest friends (who happened to be my housemates) decided to push forward with an idea that had been floating around since we moved to Brighton in 2016.
What you are doing now?
Funnily enough all three of us (myself, Matthew and Ryan) grew up in Portsmouth and were equally staggered to see how many ethically minded businesses there were in Brighton. We quickly saw why it’s among the greenest of towns in the UK, but still found ourselves shopping with the retail powerhouses. This is where we recognised the problem. We didn’t know where these ethically minded organisations were, what they had to offer nor was there any real incentive for us to switch shopping habits – we wondered how many others felt this way?
Having sat on the idea, support from the University relit a spark for taking the concept forward as we entered the new decade. This was further driven by the pandemic, as we noticed a clear shift in people shopping locally, thoughtfully and for the better. We also knew that the independents would be hit the hardest, so a week before we went into lockdown; we formed Ethicul. Having launched our website shortly after finishing our final year exams; we built the UK’s first platform that informs, encourages and rewards people for shopping ethically. We have over 40 fantastic businesses signed up and a fast-growing user base. We are proud to have featured in The Argus, and the My Green Pod supplement in The Guardian.
How has your degree helped you with your career + tips for graduates and students?
The University of Brighton played a bit part in us taking the leap and starting Ethicul; the support has been great. The concept floated around since first year, prompted by the module ‘Business Project’. It was then relit in the final year module ‘Small Business and Entrepreneurship’ which involved the creation of a business plan as well as an elevator and Dragon’s Den style pitch. The practical nature of the modules really helped in planning, forming and launching a real business. Unlike other degrees, it wasn’t all about the textbooks! If there is anything I can recommend for both current students and recent graduates; it is to just get stuck in, take the leap and do it. If there is an idea bubbling around in your head, the University is there to support it. We are living in some unprecedented times but with every challenge comes an opportunity to be seized.
Feel free to check out what we are doing and sign up on our website. Alternatively, you can follow us on both Instagram and Facebook. If there are any questions, don’t hesitate to connect with me on LinkedIn and drop me a message on there!