Fiona Holmstrom, STEM Punks was our 2020 AusMumpreneur QLD-NT Making a Difference (Education) gold award winner.
STEM Punks offers curriculum-aligned courses in STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) for primary and high school students that are developed and delivered by teachers and leading innovators. Award-winning online Teacher-led classes from Australia’s best STEM Education provider are designed to keep kids ahead of the pack. STEM Punks mission is to “Inspire Tomorrow’s Innovators” and teach kids about 21st Century Skills by enabling a mindset of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
STEM Punks offers classes online and in person to kids at home, and teachers in schools. There is an online learning platform, school holiday classes, term classes, incursions, Teacher Professional Development, a STEM store, a Magazine and a YouTube channel.
Fiona would much rather be behind the scenes running the business than be out front on camera or in the media. She is happiest writing content and strategy to drive the business while putting the team at the forefront.
When did you start your business?
What was the inspiration behind starting this business?
When researching best education systems for my own children from all over the world, I kept seeing “STEM” coming up in most other developed nations, yet nothing in Australia. It wasn’t part of the Curriculum back then, so STEM Punks was formed with the notion to support schools and teachers with STEM programs. It was;t until 2019 that STEM became part of the Australian Curriculum, so by then STEM Punks was fully operational and experienced in implementing STEM programs in schools all over Australia.
What are you most excited about in your business?
The ability to change childrens lives through 21st Century learning and a mindset of Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship.
What has been the most challenging thing about starting your business?
Scalability. We could hire 100 teachers easily and send them all over the country to do in-school incursions, but that’s not a sound business model.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business?
Absolutely do it. Back yourself and jump on in. Ignore the inner chatter and the fears And worries. You’ll find you had none of those things to worry about.
Why did you enter the AusMumpreneur Awards?
I knew that STEM Punks was special. I understood the positive things that the business was doing for schools and parents and communities. I was proud of the changes we were implementing in schools to teach kids about STEM and an Innovative mindset. However, I wasn’t aware of my own impact within the business and how my own skillset and experience was valuable – and valued.
What did you enjoy the most about being part of the awards?
The camaraderie between all the finalists was really something else. I expected it might be tense but I’ve made some incredible connections and friends through this experience, and I’m so grateful.
What surprised you most about the awards?
The way it changed my opinion of myself. I guess I hadn’t ever put myself forward for anything like this before, but the surprise of being a finalist boosted my confidence and belief in myself, that I can make a difference.
Did the awards help you in your business?
The media attention was confronting at first, but a very very valuable learning curve for me. The exposure as a female founder has been really wonderful, in the fact that there are other women out there managing a household, looking after kids, and running a successful 6 figure business. I’ve particularly enjoyed the connections I’ve made. Like-minded women supporting other like-minded women is a terrific thing and being part of that community is especially empowering. I’ve also been able to further my mission to attract more girls into STEM fields through a couple of initiatives that I probably wouldn’t have done had I not put myself out there in these awards. I’ve also been asked to be keynote speaker and panellist, which I wouldn’t have accepted before Ausmumpreneur. All in all, these things are all really favourable for business exposure and for my own personal growth and development.
What advice would you give to other mums thinking about entering the awards?
Just stop overthinking, and jump in. I had no idea what I was doing entering an award for me last year, because I was used to entering the business in awards, not me personally but I can honestly say it has catapulted me to doing some incredible things this year.
What has been the best thing about starting your own business?
The flexibility of being a businesswoman one minute and turning up to school sports day the next or taking the kids out of school for a fun day because I am my own boss and can do that. I really wanted to be able to have a job that allowed me to work these flexible hours, but in the real world finding a company and boss that is that flexible is almost non-existent.
What’s happening next in your business?
We are working on creating more and more content for schools and parents everywhere, with industry links and linked to the Curriculum. So many more programs are coming out and we’re working with a few companies to help with their CSR programs, which is a really rewarding experience.
What are your big plans for the future?
So many exciting things! STEM Punks has just expanded into the US and won a couple of huge international awards this year.
(Note: All images in this article are credited to STEM Punks)
SAVE THE DATE – 2021 AUSMUMPRENEUR AWARDS!
Nominations open Monday 3 May 2021.
AusMumpreneur Awards Nights 8-10 September 2021
Conference and Awards Presentation 14-16 September 2021.