Jade Parkinson-Hill, Founder of Steam School
Empowering a generation to change the world with science and technology
Many start-ups dream of overnight success, but it’s rare. You need to experience the life of an entrepreneur – including failure – before arriving at one magical idea where everything falls into place…
I didn’t put the work into my A-Levels and I signed up for a Marketing of Textiles degree because I was told the subjects in my area of expertise would be easy. Discovering they weren’t proved to be a gift; I learned how to be a learner. Having graduated top of my university class, I was sponsored to do a Masters.
My first two jobs involved marketing start-ups and tech companies. Feeling lonely on the road, I made the strange decision to go backpacking around Australia! I had to travel all round the world to realise I wanted to be at home. Within six months, I’d returned and set up a business – making more money than I’d ever earned.
Accidentally and, very happily, I then found myself working in the Liverpool education sector – uncovering hidden ‘enterprise gems’ at an academy in what was, at the time, the most deprived area of Europe. At my next school, I became one of the first non-teaching vice principals in the UK – bringing in £1.25m funding for entrepreneurship programmes.
After my son was born in 2010, I returned to my first job and founded a school for young video game creators – making the list of the top 100 women in gaming in 2015. By then, opening schools had taken over my life. Becoming ill with chronic shingles proved to be a blessing; I’d never have left that big fat salary otherwise!
In 2016, I set up Steam School – continuing to work as a consultant whilst I figured out the best way to connect schools with inspirational people from the world of science and technology.
We’ve grown quickly in the last 18 months – self-funding our virtual afterschool club-style platform through cashflow. My second business, The Edventure Club, is about leading positive change in global education.
I’m still learning from masterminds – including my own. It’s been a remarkable journey – from reluctant student to winning DevelopHER’s ‘Female Tech Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2018 – and the best is yet to come!