Innovation studio

Business Chat: 5 Quick Questions with… Dave Miller

3 November 2022

The ATI2 recently held an incredible event called The Innovation Exchange, an event that allowed local business owners to meet and talk about their ventures. It was a day filled to the brim with exciting opportunities, bright ideas, and interesting conversations.

Not only was this an opportunity for YOU it was also an opportunity for US. It allowed us a space to sit down and have a quick chat with various business leaders in Cornwall who are now entering the world stage. One said business leader we spoke to was Dave Miller, who is the Chief Executive of the Cleaner Seas Group, a company dedicated to cleaning micro-fibers from our oceans.

Here are Dave’s thoughts and advice!

How will you be navigating through the cost of living crisis?

Dave: The thing with Cleaner Seas Group is that we have a range of green tech that is designed to remove microplastics from the environment. The technology that we have progressed with so far is the microfibre capture filter and we are on a constant program of cost-reduction engineering to ensure that the retrofit filter is accessible to everyone. It is at a price point that is affordable for as many people as possible. However, we recognise that we are a start-up and manufacturing where we can in the UK. It is important to note that microfibres are a global issue, not just a UK-specific one. So, when we go to other countries, such as the US they’re asking what cost of living crisis, what fuel crisis. As a company based in Cornwall, we are of course facing issues but it’s not consistent across the globe.

What advice would you give to other business owners or possible start-ups in this climate?

Dave: First of all, to the aspiring Chief Execs or Chief Visionary Officers keep going! It’s worth the grind! There are opportunities out there even in these difficult times.

How can a business retain its staff and what should business be doing better for employees?

Dave: Businesses whether you’re a startup or a multinational company should always be putting people at the heart of the operation. Having workplaces that are inclusive, diverse, and fun is the most important thing. You have to value and empower them to be the best that they can be in your company. Specifically to Cornwall, I think it is important to try and make your workplace as diverse as possible, to bring in people from all around the world who are full of ideas. This is a challenge to do so in a county that isn’t very diverse. As a company you can sell the fact that Cornwall is the jewel of the UK, it’s where everyone comes on holiday because it’s beautiful. So, you can use that as leverage to bring these people down and work for you.

What is something in the business world that you are excited about right now?

Dave: I think there is a tidal wave coming of people really understanding the meaning of sustainability and sustainable living. What really excites me and gets me out of bed is this tidal wave, it’s going to change the way people and businesses think really quickly. If I ask my children would you like to have microplastic in their bodies or not, they answer with a very logical answer that is “of course I don’t Microplastics float, it’s harmful”. So, they get it. They don’t need 50 years of data or science to tell us it’s harmful, it’s just common sense.

There’s a change in the way people buy things and I believe that people are going to buy because they need an item, not because they want an item. I believe both these things are really really different. People are going to consider is this product doing the right thing for me as a human being, is it adding value to the environment or is it taking away? These consumer-based decisions are going to influence how a company operates and governments.

What is one piece of advice you stand by?

Dave: I will go back to my late Grandad who said to me when I was seven years old when he bought my first surfboard. He said to me, in relation to surfing that make sure you take only photos and leave only footprints. That has really stuck with me all through my career and the general way I live.


More Insights

Mobile Pop-Up on the road to Drive Business Innovation in Cornwall
Odyssey Innovation Crowdfunding to Recycle Marine Plastics into Handplanes