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Graduates share a vision at Finisterre

The Finisterre Team, from left:  Tom Podkolinski (Design Director), Stephen Davis (Customer Service), Ernest Capbert (Marketing Director), Tom Kay (Founder)Cornwall boasts an increasing number of businesses who are finding more ethical ways of operating. Finisterre, an innovative business based near St Agnes, is one such example, being truly inspirational in its approach to environmental awareness.

Finisterre is the only company in the world making cutting-edge technical apparel specifically for cold water surfers - a selection of jackets, fleeces and base layers made from technical fabrics which meet exacting world class standards. The range is almost entirely recyclable and is produced by manufacturers who employ previously disadvantaged people.

Finisterre aims to develop state-of the-art products and show that minimising the effect on the environment can still be achieved successfully. The company is a member of 1% For The Planet, meaning at least 1% of annual net revenues are given to environmental organisations worldwide. It has also developed its own 'Offset the PLC' program which involves reducing the environmental footprint of their products at every stage of the product life cycle.

Tom Podkolinski, Finisterre's Design Director and Marketing Manager Ernest Capbert are both graduates who joined the company through Combined Universities in Cornwall's graduate placement scheme Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP). Managed by Cornwall College and supported by Objective One, the scheme identifies graduates with appropriate skills to work on specific projects which will benefit local businesses. Tom and Ernest's contributions were so central to the success of the company that they were recruited as directors at the end of their placements.

Tom identifies designs, fabrics and manufacturers to achieve an ultimate product which will have as little environmental impact as possible and also participates in lectures, along with founder Tom Kay, highlighting the need for ecological responsibility in commerce.

Ernest, a graduate of Plymouth University, has developed every aspect of marketing and promoting the brand to the point where the Finisterre ethos and products are already gaining national recognition. GQ Magazine recently called Finisterre "one of the coolest surf brands" and counted their Anabatic shell jacket in their '100 Best Things in the World 2007'.

The ability to recruit highly skilled people who could also appreciate the philosophy of the business has been essential for success and Tom Kay is understandably enthusiastic about UCP, "Without Tom and Ernest, Finisterre would not be the company it is today. UCP is not just about finding employees – it's about finding the right people for you. We share the same aims and hope that our achievements will encourage others to follow."

If Finisterre's example proves anything, it is that with belief and commitment, success does not have to come at a cost.

For further information contact Emma Stallard, combined Universities in Cornwall PR and Communications Officer on 01363 370446 or email

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) project, both Phase 1 and Phase 2, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) and also Unlocking Cornish Potential through the European Social Fund (ESF).


Editor's notes:

The Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP) project is part of the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) initiative and is managed by Cornwall College. UCP builds on 5 years of highly successful, ESF funded activity by the University of Plymouth. The UCP project seeks to measurably improve the efficiency, competitiveness and growth potential of SMEs in Cornwall through the placement of graduates in companies to undertake business development projects. These projects can last from 6 to 12 months.

The Combined Universities in Cornwall is a dynamic and visionary partnership that is one of the driving forces behind Cornwall's economic renaissance. This partnership combines the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, University College Falmouth, The Open University, The College of St Mark & St John, and the Peninsula Medical School, with Cornwall's Further Education colleges - Cornwall College, Truro College and Penwith College. It aims not only to provide the students of the future with more choice and greater opportunities, but also to boost the economic fortunes of the region for the benefit of one and all.

The CUC initiative has been invested in by the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the South West Regional Development Agency, Cornwall County Council and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.


Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

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