1. Explain your business in the time it would take the kettle to boil or drink to be poured
We are an educational service specialising in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) areas. We plan and deliver workshops in schools, providing a bespoke service. We also run after-school science clubs, do intensive teaching, tutoring, staff CPD/training, revision and exam slam sessions, and we also do science birthday parties.
2. Where are you based and why is it a good location for your business?
We are based in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England. We cover from Northumberland to Durham currently but are hoping to expand geographically into Teeside. The North East is a good location as we have a wealth of STEM based industries in the region and we have a large number of universities. We want to address the skills deficit by inspiring and encourage youngsters into these specialist areas.
3. How did you come up with the idea?
I am an ex-teacher of science and maths. These STEM subject areas are crucial to future advancements and technology. There is a lack of youngsters choosing careers in these areas. Therefore I want to promote these subjects and raise the aspirations of youngsters to encourage them into these. Local STEM businesses require people with these smart skills.
4. What’s the business model?
We are an educational service providing any bespoke package that educational establishments would like. We would like to expand into both early years/nursery school and post-16 apprenticeship schemes, and we would like to expand geographically down to Teeside. We are a private limited company.
5. Who are your competitors?
There are a few (not many) similar businesses but none of them are the same as us. We are fully qualified, experienced teachers of STEM subjects and our competitors are not.
6. What’s unique about your business?
We are fully qualified and experienced teachers, so we have the teaching and training skills. We are specialists of STEM subjects so also have the knowledge and expertise in these areas. We also have the passion, vision and the drive to encourage youngsters and raise aspirations in these fields.
7. What stage was your business at when you applied for the Start Up Loan?
Startup - we had literally just set the company up with Companies House.
8. How have you used it to grow your business?
We have used it to purchase the many resources we need and use when delivering STEM subjects in schools. We have also paid for our website using this: www.greenshifteducation.co.uk
9. Who is your mentor and how have they helped you?
Bill Hartshorne. He is fantastic and is there whenever we need him. He helped us with our actual startup, he guided us through our loan application, and even now he is assisting and guiding us on areas such as funding, marketing and expansion.
10. Who is your regional delivery partner and how did they help you get a Virgin StartUp loan?
TEDCO, based in the North East of England. They helped us complete the application and collect all required documents together. They strengthened and improved our business plan.
11. Biggest achievement so far?
The number of bookings we have already had and future bookings in the diary, and being successful with our application to join RBS/Natwest's e-spark business accelerator programme starting up in Newcastle upon Tyne this August.
12. What’s next for your business?
Growth (financial and geographically), working with early years children in nurseries, and working with post-16 pupils delivering apprenticeships in STEM related subjects.