On Saturday, I should have been spending the evening in Birmingham for the ClubHub Awards 2020, but instead found myself sitting in my kitchen simultaneously dialed into a friend’s baby shower in California and watching a live stream of the awards ceremony edited together from experts, award sponsors and entertainers from their houses across the country.
I entered the Startup of the Year category of the ClubHub awards back in January, when I’d only been running Inventors & Makers for less than a year. At that point we’d just started our first after-school club and were getting going with our first term of Little STEAMers classes in Ealing. We were also thinking about finding new teachers to share the workload. Oh and we were all allowed to leave our houses. Those were the heady January days!
I didn’t hold out a lot of hope for winning given the panel could choose any business in their first three years. This meant that, embarrassingly, when a friend messaged me to say I’d won (annoyingly my livestream had failed at the point of the announcement), I had a proper Gwynnie moment and burst into tears!! Thank goodness I was in my own kitchen and not in a conference hall!
You see the thing is, the Oscars it ain’t, but it felt like recognition for how hard I’ve worked personally over the last year and a bit. The last few weeks have been crazy for everyone. For me, between looking after my own children and setting up and running the business in a completely new way, I’ve really been running on empty.
Winning Startup of the Year really meant so much to me in terms of validation, motivation and recognition of the work I’ve put in.
We don’t know what the next few months hold, much less so the next year, but I’m excited for what’s to come for Inventors & Makers, whether it’s carrying on with virtual classes, starting to see children face-to-face again, or more likely some hybrid of these. It's definitely got to involve more than just me though, and we already have one incredible teacher now added to the team.
We hope to see lots more children joining us over the coming weeks and months because they’re the ones that make Inventors & Makers more than just me sitting in my kitchen with my computer at the moment!
Thank you for all your support for us as a small new business - every single smiling child’s face, appreciative parent email or kind review or comment on social media make it worth it. 🙏