Getting kids passionate about science
Dr Alana Wylie has created a business that is inspiring the next generation of scientists and researchers.
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Please share your Eye Heart Science pitch?
“Eye Heart Science, we're a science education company and we're a group of science loving nerds that are really passionate about creating fun, engaging science content for children that can be taught by anyone. So we're all about getting kids very familiar and comfortable with learning that failure is part of the problem solving process.
We get to do that every week with our before and after school science clubs.”
What processes have you put in place to protect yourself from risk?
“Well, it's a great question for someone that works with children and chemicals and science experiments. The first thing for us was making sure that working in the education capacity, if we're doing anything with children, making sure that we've had all of the proper checks and things in place. We have a good process in place where all of our staff have to be working with children check cleared, which is part of a police check. We then make sure we have all the proper insurances in place for running a business.
I got a good insurance broker and had a really detailed conversation about what my business did, how many people were involved, how I worked with them so that I could make sure that I got the right protection in place for that component of the business. The great thing is engaging schools, they also have their own risk management processes in place, so they're very thorough before they'll let you come on site and do anything at their school, which is good. They won't let us on unless they've done their due diligence as well. So we can use that in our own processes.
Then there's that element of business risk protection. But then I guess for me, which is quite specific to what I do, is making sure that when myself or my staff are going and doing hands-on science with kids, that there is no element of risk in the experiments that we're doing.
So we're pretty tight on the things that we allow our staff to do in our science clubs and the equipment and the materials that we take in. We have a very big risk management plan that we've got in place for if something happens, how do you deal with that. But ideally we want to mitigate the risk in the first place.
Then the favourite part for me is designing the experiments. I like to think that I do it a little bit like the Women's Weekly Cookbook. Where I do them three times. It's triple tested to make sure. I mean, it still happens. I mean, we work with kids, you tell them to put nothing in their mouth and that's almost like an invitation that they want to put something in their mouth. So, we have good processes in place for that. I think the two biggest things that I tell my staff is number one, obviously have fun with the kids because that's what it's all about, but also create a very safe environment.
Risk for us is something that's definitely at the forefront of our mind when we're planning everything.”
What are some of the top methods that you've used to generate visibility for your business?
“We’re in a bit of a different position, from the moment of launching, the business was so reliant on me delivering the science classes. So I obviously reached a capacity, where I was like, “okay, well, I can't do any more until I get staff.” So trying to get my name out there wasn't something that I was trying to do because we've been very lucky that from the startup.
We've had more demand than we can actually cope with. So, which is, I guess, unusual, in a startup, because you do really want to get your name out there and let people know who you are. But we've been, working so hard in the back end to work out what that formula is to enable us to scale, that we've kept it very quiet in terms of we haven't had to go down your social media channels, we haven't had to place adverts in things.
Ours has been very, very much word of mouth. So that's then helpful because then the second that we're ready to then, okay, we've now hired two more staff members so we can now take on six more schools because we've had that very nice word of mouth, we've then got that little repository of schools that we can go to and say, ‘oh, okay, we're ready to take on some more classes, are you ready?’
So that's been very nice for us. So we've been very lucky. However, it's interesting that you say that because it's definitely something that I'll be going through your future podcasts and ones in archive to hear what people answer here because we're about to switch our business model and actually getting our voice out there and having that visibility is going to be really really important to us and something that we haven't faced yet. So I'll be very interested in hearing and networking with people to find out the best way forward for them.”
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