Every day during the Christmas holidays we profile winners of the recent IoD Director of the Year Awards. Today it’s Marc Wileman, director of Sublime Science, who won the Young Director award
‘Cross-pollinating ideas from across society is vital’ – Marc Wileman, director, Sublime Science
Making sweets, launching rockets and firing catapults are all in a day’s work for “Mad” Marc Wileman, whose business is all about making science fun for children. Parties held by Sublime Science have been attended by more than a million primary school pupils since Wileman founded the venture in 2008 using funds from personal credit cards and a £1,750 loan from the Prince’s Trust (he later gained a further investment of £50,000, thanks to a successful pitch on Dragons’ Den). What else has fuelled his company – which last year won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise – so far?
Has there been a truly pivotal moment for your business? Yes, when I started it. The financial world was melting at the time, so there was every reason not to. I’m so happy that I made the terrifying leap.
Do you have a favourite inspirational quote? ‘The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.’ Marcus Aurelius.
Where do you get your best ideas? Outside my industry – from athletics to ancient philosophy; from coding to listening to Pink Floyd on my record player with a cup of green tea. Cross-pollinating ideas from across the full spectrum of society is vital.
How important is technology to your business? Its evolution has been amazing. We can now lease great software and other tech with no money up front and thrive against far bigger competitors in a way that wouldn’t have been possible before.
What are your plans for 2018? To continue our business’s rapid expansion and inspire even more children around the world to discover how awesome science can be.
What’s the biggest leadership lesson you’ve learnt? Success and failure really only have the meaning that we give them. There are only tests.
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