Robert Christopher Brooks
Educational Wildlife Centric Tour Provider
Farming and Forestry
I studied marine vertebrate zoology because I love sharks, the only problem was I knew that there aren’t too many jobs demanding marine biologists and that there wasn’t too much money to be made in the field. In fact, during my welcome week at the university I remember one of my lectures saying; ‘if you chose Marine Biology to make a lot of money then you’re in the wrong school’. This stuck with me over the years and as I was starting my third-year dissertation I knew I had to start thinking about my future; preferably one that sees me prove my lecturer wrong.
As part of my 3rd year dissertation for my Zoology course I spent a lot of my time researching about the habitats occupied by Great White Sharks and the factors that influence their distribution. In doing so I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great if I could provide people with access to this sort of information that would tell them when and where the best places are to find their favourite animals?’.
Over time I came up with the concept of ‘Finding Nature’; with the simple mission; we want to connect our customers with nature in a totally unique and seamless way. So far, the larger companies that sell animal tours and experiences do so by emphasising their itineraries along a huge list of other unrelated activities. No other company has ever marketed wildlife as the place to go. We are not about blindly selling tours and experiences, rather, we are developing a platform that educates and inspires people to want to go out and experience nature for themselves. By developing relationships with small businesses, we aim to bridge the gap between ‘discovering’ and ‘exploring’ for our customers in order to become the world’s leading wildlife-centric company. I realised there was room for this in the market and decided to put it forward for the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards and was lucky to pitch the idea to the Vice Chancellor.
Although unsuccessful in reaching the next stage of the competition I was awarded a £500 bursary by Bangor University for my efforts. It has helped tremendously by enabling me to commission a detailed market strategy as well as to fund some help from friends to write website content.
I also attended multiple workshops at the university on Freelancing, Marketing & Branding and Business Development, run by some really enthusiastic people who can’t help but inspire.
The concept has evolved from the original concept with some business mentoring from Big Ideas Wales. The mentor helped massively by discussing potential income streams and numerous ways to monetise the platform. ‘Finding Nature’ has now become a full-time endeavour and I am working with my cousin who is using his expertise in web programming to develop a beautiful website.
Our plans are very ambitious, we want to have a tried and tested model that is generating significant revenue within the UK. Once perfected we want to roll out our platform into multiple countries, and develop travel partnerships with airlines along the way. Eventually we want people to be able to use our platform to go out and experience any species of wildlife anywhere in the world. The thought of our first sale and being completely self-sufficient in the future gives me an indescribable amount of excitement.
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