The worlds of science and entrepreneurship have always shared an undeniable joy for adventure, exploration and discovery.
As part of British Science Week, we take a look at story of scientist Marc Wileman, whose business showcases the power these human instincts have to educate and inspire.
He broke away from his corporate life because he needed a career path that would allow him to share his passion for science with the next generation. Supported by the Enterprise Programme run by NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards charity partner Prince’s Trust, he founded Sublime Science, a company that uses fizzing potions, sparkling slime and amazing experiments to put the awesomeness back into children’s birthday parties.
Since securing investment in the Dragons’ Den on national television, Marc has won a number of awards, including Service Industries Entrepreneur of the Year at the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards in 2015, and the Queen’s Award for Enterprise and Innovation 2016.
We caught up with Marc recently to hear more of his exciting journey.
Can you explain a bit more about your background as an entrepreneur and how Sublime Science is unique as a business?
My background profession is a scientist; I have a Master’s degree in Physics and honestly thought I’d end up researching something or other in a lab. Somewhere along the way I realised I was way more passionate about inspiring children to discover how awesome science can be and have spent close to a decade inspiring more than one million kids. It’s been a blast!
How did you come up with the idea for Sublime Science?
I’d been a professional science communicator in Canada and Australia for a few years before Sublime Science. I actually spent close to a year travelling all around New South Wales in a pickup truck sharing fun ways to learn with Australian kids. My dream was to change the way that children in the UK think about science and starting my own business seemed like the way to go!
What is the secret to the success of Sublime Science?
The secret, if there is one, is to do something that you’re passionate about and that your customers love. That will help pull you through the tough times; it also means that you’ve always got plenty of (awesome!) folks to help spread the word.
How important is it that we get more kids having fun with science?
It’s just so important. The world around us is changing at such a rate and just about the most important thing that our children will need to know is how to learn. This means using scientific method and knowing how to think critically to figure out the best solutions. Oh, and slime is awesome too!
What is your fondest memory so far on your business journey with Sublime Science?
I’d have to say getting to meet Her Majesty the Queen and having a chat about making slime, launching rockets and concocting potions; one of my more surreal moments for sure.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learnt so far on your entrepreneurial journey?
It’s so tough to pick one thing but if you work hard, do an awesome job of making a huge number of other people’s lives better and have fun along the way, then everything is fine. Oh, and control the controllable and forget about everything else.
What do you enjoy most about your life as a scientific entrepreneur?
The best thing has to be the variety; from making slime and launching rockets to writing books with ridiculous titles (‘Don’t Eat Your Slime’ and ‘The Most Incredible Science Experiment Book Ever’), to meeting Her Majesty the Queen and going on national TV. All in all, we’ve inspired more than one million kids. I would never have imagined a £1,750 Prince’s Trust loan would lead to this.
What does the future hold for Sublime Science?
Making lots and slime, launching lots of rockets and sharing how fantastic science can be with the next generation of budding scientists, both in the UK and around the world.
To find out more about the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards head to the website.