Name: Paul Donati
Course: Law with French Law and Language
Tell us more about Catching a Fish in Norway
CAFIN is an ethical and sustainable streetwear company, who collaborate with young, up-and-coming artists from across the world to raise awareness and promote change in the fast fashion industry. We work directly with organic cotton farmers and fairtrade factories in India, to offer a conscious alternative to people’s clothing needs.
How did UEA Student Enterprise help you?
UEA Student Enterprise helped us financially, and by offering a range of support, mentorships and an ever-increasing web of contacts to help us grow from strength to strength.
Where did your funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? Was UEA part of this?
UEA supported us with over £10,000 in grant funding – which was provided through several funding rounds over the course of 3 years. We were awarded the Try It, Do It and Grow It grants.
What have been the biggest challenges in setting up your own venture?
The biggest challenges have been the lack of experience in all areas – as a student enterprise your knowledge of business, marketing, accounts and human resources are all limited. The biggest challenge all in all was learning what was needed to help us grow.
What worries did you have while setting up your business, and how did you overcome them?
The main issues we faced were planning and executing our plans for raising awareness of some of the issues faced by those in the fashion industry. We wanted to deliver a measurable social impact on those involved both in our supply chain but also on a wider stage. We overcame this through teamwork, planning, and some very long nights!
How did your time at UEA help you?
Studying my degree while setting up the business meant good prioritisation and time management skills were in order.. thankfully UEA provided a great support-base of students, staff and contacts who all helped me through. Also, UEA provided a safe space to really work on something I am passionate about without having to take big risks.
What are the main positives of starting your own business?
Skills – I’d say the main benefits are all of the skills which come with the business that you develop and will no-doubt come in handy in whatever your future career.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Earlier this year we were awarded the UEA’s Innovations & Impact Award 2018 which was a fantastic moment (although I couldn’t be there to collect the award!).
What piece of advice would you give to university students who want to become entrepreneurs?
Go for it! If you can apply for funding – what do you have to lose?
What advice would you give other students and graduates looking to launch their own venture?
Turn your brain-box on and grab your pen ... get planning!
What are your plans for the future?
Our long-term plan is to help shoppers shop responsibly, and in turn to make business more accountable and transparent.