Interview of a social entrepreneur: Pete Ceglinski, co-founder of The Seabin Project

At Ye! we support social initiatives whenever possible. There is today a growing number of entrepreneurs taking the leap and creating their startups because they recognized a problem in their local community or society at large, and found a way to solve it. Such people, putting sustainability at the center of their business model, are called social entrepreneurs.

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Pete Ceglinski, who kindly accepted to be interviewed by our team, is a good example of a social entrepreneur. Along with his friend, Andrew Turton, they developed the Seabin.

Pete and Andrew are two Australian boat builders and surfers. They were sick of seeing trash all over the beaches, sea and marinas when surfing and sailing. It felt wrong to them. Indeed, polluted oceans are wrong for the planet as a whole: plastics and trash pollute the sea and destroy the ecosystems. It is the whole equilibrium that is at stake here and the consequences are terrible: it provokes diseases, malformations and death for the marine wildlife. Moreover it is dangerous for Humans, as consumers of sea products.

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(© Greenpeace/ Marco Care)

The two friends came with the idea of a trash can that would collect debris in the water. It took them four years to develop what would later become The Seabin. The concept is pretty simple: similarly to skimmer boxes in swimming pools, the Seabin is located in the water and fixed to a floating dock. There is a water pump that creates a flow of water into the can, bringing with it all floating trash. The debris are caught in a catch bag and the water is sucked out of the can and pumped back into the sea. The Seabin is designed for marinas, harbors, private pontoons, inland waterways, residential lakes and ports.

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The project was incubated by Australian company Shark Mitigation Systems and was later crowdfunded on Indiegogo website. They raised more than $260,000 in two months.

As of today the project is successful. In March 2016, The Seabin Project partnered with Poralu Marine, a French manufacturer of pontoons and marina equipment. Shortly after, they signed a contract with the city of La Grande Motte, in France. The city agreed to implement the Seabin in its marinas as well as developing an awareness campaign on ocean pollution.

The Seabin Project is now located in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and has big plans for the future.

Below, Pete Ceglinski delivers his inspiring point of view:

Ye!: What drove you to become an entrepreneur and to start your company/organization? 

Pete: I wanted to follow the day dreams I was having all day at my “proper” job. I wanted to make a difference in the World and I didn’t want to wear shoes… Simple as that.

Ye!: What was the biggest challenge you experienced in your entrepreneurship journey and how did you overcome it?

Pete: Trying to sell a dream to the World. Selling a product that 99% of the populations cannot use or touch but benefits every single living thing on Earth. I overcame this with total dedication, lack of sleep and not taking no for an answer when deep down my gut feeling told me the opposite…

Ye!: What is your vision for your company/organization in the next three years? 

Pete: We would like to have our flagship product, “The Seabin” spread all over the World and making a difference. We’d like to reinvest into newer models and better educative programs that relate directly to the Seabins.

Ye!: Is there anything that you would have done otherwise? 

Pete: No… Not a thing. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that you are exactly where you should be in life right now. And to an extent that you make your own luck.

Ye!: Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs? 

Pete: Follow your own dreams and gut feelings. If you day dream about the same things everyday, take the plunge, make a plan to support yourself and then quit everything and just do it! I spent one year secretly saving my money and working out a plan. Then I quit my job and made it happen. I had enough tools and money to last me one year while I renovated a factory and set up the project.

June 15th 2016 - Alexis Sadouni

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