Meet the enterprising university student who’s gathered a team to create an online platform co‑op that makes academic information easy to understand and signposts to valuable wellbeing services…
Twenty-two-year-old Isaac Finn is a third year Economics student at Loughborough University. During his first two years, Isaac experienced mental health problems.
“I was in a depressive state. There was stuff going on in my life but it was also about the world – Covid, the climate crisis, everything. I was overwhelmed,” Isaac recalls.
“I realised I needed help. I got help from my personal tutor and got counselling. Then I decided I wanted to help other people.” That’s when he formulated the idea that has since become Kocoon.
Kocoon is an online platform that aims to equip young people with the knowledge, skills and resources to better understand, manage and improve their wellbeing through access to academic research and signposting to charities and services.
“I started Kocoon because when I was unwell, it took me a while to find the right resources. I realised it should be easier to access information on meditation, mindfulness and the latest research about anxiety, or how we as individuals can help combat climate change.”
Isaac also wanted to make research-backed academic papers about wellbeing – and the societal issues that contribute to it – more accessible to people outside of academia.
“These resources are often hard to come across and they’re presented in a way people find difficult to read. They can’t always get the terminology,” Isaac explains. “So what we’re doing is creating articles, short videos and infographics to present that information in ways people want to consume.”
As well as signposting to organisations and services that support people with their wellbeing, Kocoon has so far produced reader friendly content on research into gambling, anxiety, ‘greenwashing,’ mindfulness and the mental health benefits of spending time in nature.
To get Kocoon up and running, Isaac gathered a core team of 13 people – mostly through word of mouth – who are equipped with an array of skills, from wellbeing journalists to animators, graphic designers and coders who are developing the online platform.
Over 10 weeks, UnFound supported 10 teams to establish their platform businesses as co‑ops – and to develop their products, business planning, strategy, branding and marketing.
Having gained valuable insights into the co‑operative business model, Isaac is now preparing to set up the Kocoon platform as a worker co‑op, with the 13‑strong team of contributors as founder members.
“In time, we’ll aim to become a multi‑stakeholder co‑operative so we can have academics, customers, charities and wellbeing organisations as members too,” Isaac explains.
For him, the knowledge and skills he gained on the UnFound Accelerator have been invaluable. “I’ve learned a lot from some great experts. My economics degree is based on conventional business models, there’s nothing about co‑ops.
“So it’s been really useful to learn about the co‑op model, the legal forms, setting up a co‑op business and about community shares. It’s also allowed me to meet other co‑ops in a similar situation and network with a lot of people.
“It’s opened my eyes to different approaches. Before UnFound, we hadn’t thought about ‘design sprints’ – they’re a quick way to create a prototype for a certain aspect of your project.
At the end of the programme, Isaac took part in the UnFound Accelerator live pitch event, in which Kocoon and the eight other teams pitched their business ideas to a panel of experts and a public audience, who voted on their favourites to win a share of a £10,000 prize provided by The Co-operative Bank.
Kocoon came in second place, winning £3,000 of the prize fund. “Thank you for the support of the co‑operative community in developing our idea. It validates what we’re doing,” says Isaac. “We’ll use the prize money to further develop our platform and create more features. We want to have shareable elements and to make it more accessible. And we want to do more collaborations with academics and charities”
And Kocoon’s other plans going forward? “We want to keep on making an impact by sharing our articles and videos and hopefully grow to help as many people as we can. Then grow to be sustainable and keep on helping people.”
Find out more
- Kocoon – Website | LinkedIn | Instagram
- The UnFound Accelerator – Find out more | Sign up for the Unfound newsletter
If you’ve got a business idea, or you’re already a co‑op, The Hive can help turn your plans into action: