There is a number of ways to define social enterprises. Generally, they are the non-profit organisations with the purpose of helping resolve various social issues. They operate their business in order to generate revenues which are directed into the foundations working on their social missions. Such enterprises are vital for the creation of community wealth controlled locally and used to stabilise the economies in particular areas. This paper is focused on the exploration of the activities and mission of the social entrepreneurship called Clean Fish.
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Clean Fish business was started by Tim O’Shea and Dale Sims in San Francisco California in 2004. Both of the founders of the company are interested in ecological wellness of the area and are convinced that the impacts of the contemporary environments pollution of the food we eat could be minimised. O’Shea and Sims are focused on the distribution of sustainable seafood to the tables of their customers.
The founders of Clean Fish believe that commercial approach to fishing popular in the modern world is extremely harmful for the environment and is “hoovering up” the ecosystems in the areas where it is practiced. As a result, multiple coastlines and water bodies are under great pressure, and various kinds of sea life are facing extinction and crises. In order to make a positive impact on the environment and provide the consumers with sustainable seafood the company called Clean Fish helps the small-scale fish suppliers to find distributors and, this way, deliver healthy and safe seafood to restaurants, private kitchens and the shelves of supermarkets. The purpose of Clean Fish is to create a market for wild fishing and maintain the sustainable aquaculture that is not harmful for the environment.
The CEO of Clean Fish Tim O’Shea has observed an aquaculture operation for the first time in 1974. The purpose of that operation was the feed the consumers in a responsible manner and providing food without affecting the environment in a negative way. O’Shea was deeply impressed by that operation and that experience became the catalyst for his idea to create a business employing market forces in order to achieve a better world. The final idea of building Clean Fish Company occurred when in 2004 O’Shea watched the media report about the environmental crises caused by the contemporary ways of salmon farming.
Today, Clean Fish is the product of careful research and lengthy interactions with the best business professionals and experts. The creation of Clean Fish was the response to large-scale industrial fishing practices that damaged the marine environments and facilitated the growth of seafood crisis. Clean Fish is the commercial venture that unites the responsible fishing artisans who follow the safe practices and focused on providing good quality products to the consumers.
O’Shea started his company using the funds of his own and the capitals he could acquire from friends. These were the only sources of his start-up funds. Starting this business was very challenging for O’Shea and his co-founder Dale Sims. The development moved very slow and this caused a lot of frustrations to the businessmen. The biggest challenge for the founders was to stick to their initial goal and only work with responsible fishing artisans. Besides, it was not easy to connect with the chefs and buyers who were interested in cooperating with Clean Fish. Based on the fact that the products distributed by Clean Fish artisans are obtained in the environmentally friendly ways, they are more expensive than the seafood of mass production coming from farms polluting the environment.
In 2008 Clean Fish was provided 4.2 million dollars worth of funds from TBL Capital, the venture capital company that specialises in start-up investments, growth capital, early, late and mid ventures and bridge financing. Another well-known investor of Clean Fish is Mindfull Investors, the firm providing venture funding for the companies determined to solve the world’s problems and deviled high performance in returns for the investors. Finally, one more extremely influential investor of Clean Fish was Preserve Capital Group which helped the company to improve its business plan and raise a new round of capitals for further development.
During the first three years of its operation Clean Fish which was initially based on just a few idea driven individuals managed to create twenty eight new workplaces. Today, the company has small offices in San Francisco and Sausalito, California. In 2006 the revenue of Clean Fish estimated 5.2 million dollars, and in 2009 this number turned into 18.2 million. Generally, over three years of operating the total revenue of the company grew by 253 per cent and it continues to grow today. Only a small niche was required for Clean Fish to become successful, as the seafood and fishing industry in the United States of America is worth sixty five billion dollars annually.
Tim O’Shea sees the purpose of making wealth in an increasing human, financial and natural capital return. Better access to capitals is the key to success of a small business that just begins to develop. In order to facilitate the change O’Shea, who had been working with environmental organisations for over twenty years realised that the marketplace was to become the main focus.
Partnership is the base of Clean Fish business as its main purpose is to connect the responsible fishing distributors with the buyers such as stores and restaurants. The quality of the product provided by Clean Fish partners is emphasised over the quantity. The CEO of Clean Fish explains that seafood is a natural resource, and the nature is unable to provide enough to fully satisfy the excessive consumption of the United States of the present days. Natural resources are limited, and O’Shea is determined to raise social awareness about this. Introducing their business to their potential partners Clean Fish representatives educate the buyers about the fish they provide, its history, demonstrating its transparency and quality of the product. This helps to promote the brand of Clean Fish. O’Shea notes that fish such as salmon used to be recognised as a rare delicacy.
The popularity of salmon served as the encouragement for capital driven businesses and farmers who started to breed the fish to make it available every day and in large amounts. The CEO of Clean Fish underlines that this is not how nature works, and that such approach creates a huge negative impact on the ecosystems, pollutes water and affects the quality of the product. At Clean Fish it is stated that eating less but better seafood is a great solution to the emerging crisis.
The expansion of Clean Fish was based on the partnership with more buyers and distributors. The partnership is called Clean Fish Alliance, it unites restaurants, producers and markets the business collaborates with to achieve better world. The company is looking for banks to work with; currently their main banking partner is OneCalifornia Bank. O’Shea is determined to start joint ventures with similarly oriented businesses in order to help each other grow and develop by means of collaboration.
The growth strategies implemented by the company were market penetration and market expansion. Diversification is also one of the approaches Clean Fish uses – apart from connecting customers with producers, the company provides vetting services. In order to promote their brand Clean Fish puts a label on their production. The amount of Clean Fish labeled items in the stores and markets grows every year.
In conclusion, today the founders of Clean Fish Tim O’Shea and Dale Sims are recognised as ones of America’s most successful social entrepreneurs working on promising businesses that make a significant impact on the world around. The company is bringing a new level of awareness to the food industry providing the consumers with the history of their seafood and making them wonder where the other products they consume come from, if the providers can be trusted and if the ingredients are safe for both humans and the environment. Conscious and aware eaters, this way are connected with the responsible providers and the linking element is Clean Fish. Helping to make the future safer and cleaner is the main objective of Clean Fish team. The effort of this company is gradually leading to flourishing fishing communities across the world. The new market of seafood products is built with the help of the most recent and innovative approaches and technologies.