A former teacher from Hebburn has swapped the classroom for the science lab with the launch of a new enterprise which aims to encourage a greater number of schoolchildren to engage with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) based subjects.
Angela Harrison established Green Shift Educational Services Ltd to inspire youngsters and develop their interest in science related subjects through a range of fun and interactive workshops and learning programmes which can be delivered in schools, through after-school clubs and children’s science parties.
After teaching maths and science subjects in schools across Tyne and Wear for 13 years, Angela decided that the time was right to set up her own business and turned to TEDCO Business Support and Virgin StartUp to make her plans possible.
Angela said: “Having worked as a teacher for more than a decade, I was very aware that as the youngsters approached the latter years of their school education, you could see that for many – and in particular for girls – the enthusiasm that they once had for many of the science based subjects just simply was not there anymore. It sparked an idea that there had to be more that could be done outside of the traditional classroom teaching to inspire students from a very early age and help to continue their interest right throughout their education.”
She added: “Teaching goes far beyond what happens in the classroom and schools don’t always have the resources available to them to offer the rich and varied learning platforms that they would like. Green Shift Educational Services gives them an opportunity to enhance what is being delivered during lesson time and allows more students to access and enjoy STEM based learning.”
Angela continued: “We are experiencing a skills shortage in this country; STEM based subjects offer a huge and diverse range of career opportunities after students leave school but we need to do more to encourage a higher number of people to look at these options. This must start with sparking their interest at the earliest possible age and maintaining their enthusiasm at each stage of their education journey – Green Shift Educational Services aims to make learning challenging but fun with interactive, hands-on activities for everyone to enjoy.”
Green Shift Educational Services is based at Studio West in Newcastle Upon Tyne and offers a wide range of bespoke learning programmes – suitable from nursery age right through to key stage 5 – which can be developed in line with topics being covered in the classroom or to provide fun, yet educational, activities as part of an after-school club timetable. Angela also offers individual tutoring services and brings science to life with a selection of mesmerising and entertaining experiments at children’s birthday parties across the region.
For guidance on how to get her business idea off the ground, Angela approached TEDCO Business Support and, through its Start and Grow programme, was introduced to her personal advisor Bill Hartshorne. Angela worked with Bill to scrutinise at all aspects of her business plan and with his support, Green Shift Educational Services was able to secure £8,000 worth of finance through a government-backed business loan from Virgin StartUp.
Angela added: “Like many new enterprises, securing the finance that was needed to put everything in place was a major consideration. Bill was a massive help in this area and made sure that when the time came to make the application, it was robust, well thought through and had taken everything into account.”
Virgin StartUp is a not-for-profit organisation and part of the Virgin Group, providing low cost business loans to new enterprises to help kick-start new ventures with the start up capital they need to make business dreams come to life. Virgin StartUp is exclusively delivered in the North East by TEDCO Business Support.
Angela Harrison added: “Several friends had worked with the team at TEDCO Business Support and encouraged me to speak to one of their advisors. Not only did Bill offer invaluable advice prior to the launch of Green Shift Educational Services, but he remains on hand to provide mentoring and advice during the crucial early years of the business. This, for me, will be key as a first time business owner, as there will no doubt be challenges to face along the way and knowing that there is someone of Bill’s experience to turn to gives me the confidence to push forward.”
Green Shift Educational Services is already making a significant impact across the North East and is working with a number of schools in the region. As the business grows, there are plans to create additional job opportunities to meet demand as well as strategic expansion into other areas of the country.
Bill Hartshorne, TEDCO Business Support advisor said: “Green Shift Educational Services is a fantastic business venture which combines perfectly Angela’s desire to run her own company and utilise her vast teaching experience. There is a real focus on how schools develop STEM based learning for their students and Green Shift Educational Services offers an enriching and diverse programme which they can tap into to help bring science to life inside and outside of the classroom. Angela has the knowledge, enthusiasm and the passion to make this a great success.”
The Start and Grow programme is delivered by TEDCO Business Support in the North East and is supported by the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). The programme is delivered throughout England by Cavendish Enterprise in areas where there are lower levels of business start-up to help new enterprises get up and running and develop new employment opportunities in the private sector with a range of services, including one-to-one mentoring, business planning and helping new ventures get investment ready.
For more information on TEDCO Business Support and how Start and Grow or Virgin StartUp can help kick-start a new enterprise, please contact us today.