Scientists & Moms Are Now Girlpreneurs too!
Kelly McCollum and Marcie Colledge founders of Yellow Scope successfully funded their Kickstarter campaign to bring girls rigorous and creative science kits. That means these two scientists need to build a business and that might be more challenging than rounding up a dozen escaped lab rats! I spoke to them to learn more about how they were transforming themselves into girlpreneurs.
BG: At Bright Girls we say whether girls are scientists, artists, engineers, chefs, or whatever they can dream up understanding business will help them to be successful and change their world. Do either of you have business experience?
KM & MC: No, this is our first time doing this. We know the science and we know how to teach. We have run many science events and fairs at our daughters’ schools. Through these hands-on and educational events we came up with a map (process) to guide people in an interesting and easy-to-understand way through complicated science concepts like genetics, crime scenes and physics.
BG: So, how are you taking care of business?
KM & MC: We attended an excellent six week small business class for women which exposed us to the fundamentals of business. It covered things like how to create a business plan, do an elevator pitch, and organize finances. It gave us the confidence to go forward with our idea, to get it out beyond our friends and family. We actually went on to hire the business consultant who taught the class to work with us to fine tune our plan.
We’ve also been networking with friends and colleagues. For example we have connected with a woman who helps companies to do cause based marketing. We want to have the connection to a cause set up as an integral part of our business plan, not treat it as an after thought.
BG: What else have you been doing to learn more about running and funding a startup?
KM & MC: Back in the spring of 2014 we applied for a grant with a program here in Portland called The Startup PDX Challenge. While we may be new to business, as scientists we are very comfortable with the grant writing process.
We were one of five companies awarded a $50,000 grant. This put us in an incubator space with the other winning startups. It also gave us access to Bill Lynch who is the entrepreneur in residence. The grant package also includes time with lawyers, public relations and human resource professionals, working space and some working capital. It is very exciting to be a part of this Portland program.
What’s incredibly exciting is that Kelly and Marcie have made the idea of science kits just for girls a reality. They will be shipping their first product the Foundation Chemistry Kit shortly. If you want one yourself check out their website to order.
We think Marcie and Kelly have a formula for success; combining their deep science experience with a smart approach to learning business and surrounding themselves with mentors and consultants. Go STEM Girlpreneurs!