• Kim Bailey

Meet Nicki Fowler of Technology in Play

Technology in Play has been voted the best STEM class by the parents of York – in the Little Viking Awards - for the second year running.

Here, we find out more about the much-loved start-up business from Founder, Nicki Fowler and her plans to create a community of STEM enthusiasts and engage children everywhere in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Engaging curious minds

Technology in Play is a start-up business based in York. We recognise the gaps in the STEM fields and endeavor to engage curious minds from a young age in order to ignite their passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

We believe it is essential that children, of all ages, have the opportunity to properly engage with STEM and what is has to offer before they make educational decisions which shift them away from potential careers in these industries.

Technology in Play is born

The starting point for STEM is provoking curiosity in children, which doesn’t need to be complex. Activities which encourage self-discovery, learning through failure, team work and problem solving can contribute to later engagement in STEM careers.

It is with this in mind that Technology in Play (TiP) was born. We launched the business in the summer of 2017 with the aim of introducing STEM at an early age but in a way that remains immensely fun and engaging.

Through experimenting, building, crafting and coding we assist in the development of, not only an interest in STEM, but excellent communication and teamwork skills. We do this through a range of deliveries including after school coding clubs, weekly STEM clubs which cover a variety of topics and jam-packed holiday camps.

Passion for all ages

TiP is a passion project of sorts so it’s just a joy to see it coming to life. We get to see the kids engage in topics in a way they don’t at school and that’s fabulous. In addition, a surprise aspect is how passionate many parents and companies we engage with are too. It makes getting stuck in every day a pleasure when you know it means so much to so many.

Challenges of running a small business

As well of the obvious struggles with juggling full-time employment and parenting, for us there’s a constant conflict between what needs to be done now and what will help us move forward strategically.

We often get lost in the details of the day to day running and forget the bigger plans. Trying to be something to everyone and read minds is something we have tripped up on more than once.

Creating a community of STEM enthusiasts

Part of our passion project was to create a community of STEM enthusiasts and engage children everywhere in STEM. 2019 will see the work for the foundations of this being put in place as we decide what this will look like, trial and error ideas and evaluate things that sounded great but didn’t necessarily achieve what we’d hoped. It will be tough to maintain motivation because it really is a long-term plan that we are planting the seeds for now.

Get involved with Technology in Play

As part of our mission we work closely with the National Railway Museum to engage more young people in the world of STEM. We’ll be back engaging curious minds with them this summer with a range of hands on activities. Head over to @tip_hq on Instagram to keep an eye on where to find us and how to get involved.

You can also find out more about our upcoming events and activities on our events page on our website.

Best advice for those thinking of setting up their own business

To set up and run a small business I think you need a huge dose of passion with a dash of craziness. It is hard, it is long hours and there’s a lot of two steps forward and one step back. Without the passion and drive for what you are doing the money is unlikely to be enough to motivate you through your first few years.

York, UK

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