AS any new parent will tell you, hours spent feeding the baby in the wee small hours can be long and tiring.

For entrepreneur Lindsey Murphy, however, this turned out to be a period of great activity as she used the time to plan the science communication business she had always dreamed of.

Four years on, Be Experimental has grown into a successful event company that thrives on making science fun for children.

The 38-year-old former geneticist spent five years working at Glasgow Science Centre before going it alone when she spotted a gap in the market for science parties, workshops and events. She developed an array of fun activities incorporating slime, small explosions and sweet-making that can be delivered in venues of all shapes and sizes across central Scotland.

The business received a major boost last April when online marketing expert Siobhan Small became a partner, enabling new development and growth, including an innovative online science club.

“This is a really exciting time for us and we believe there is global potential in what we are doing,” says Ms Murphy, who now has two children aged four and two. “The new online science club allows us to reach out to more girls in particular and enthuse them about science, which is an important part of our ethos.”

Ms Small, also 38 and a mother of two, says the events also helps parents improve their skills.

“The science club is also great for giving mums and dads the confidence and knowledge to engage more with their children about science, but in a really fun way,” she explains. “Teachers and schools also benefit from this approach.

“We go live on Facebook once a week to do experiments, and the club members can either join us live, when we can interact in real time, or watch later. It’s like being in a real science club from the comfort of your own home.”

The duo are particularly proud that all 10 members of the Be Experimental team are women and more than half of the parties they deliver are for girls.

“There’s still relatively few women in senior positions in science, but research tells us that when girls are exposed to role models at a young age it can help them see themselves in that position and influence their choices,” adds Ms Murphy.

“At school it was a teacher who really encouraged me to pursue science and I’m so glad he did.”

The partners say their different skillsets and personalities work in perfect harmony, complimenting each other and the business.

“I love that Lindsay has so many creative ideas, though some of them are a bit wacky,” smiles Ms Small. “But it’s great to have someone else to bounce ideas off.

“Although we have very different personalities and backgrounds, we have a shared passion for science and a shared belief in the business, and that’s what really matters.”

Ms Murphy, meanwhile, says her partner has introduced invaluable new management structures.

“I always say anyone who is like me should get themselves a Siobhan,” she laughs. “I get very excitable about ideas but Siobhan reminds me that we need to have a plan in place for implementation. She also writes me a timetable every week which helps me manage my workload.”

Both women say being both mother and business boss can be a challenge, but are keen to encourage others, especially women, use their skills.

“It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it,” explains Ms Small. “This is the first time I’ve run a business and it can be hard not to let it take over your life. I’m still learning how to strike the right balance between work and family time.

“But it was particularly important to me that my kids saw me working outside the home, especially my daughter.”

Ms Murphy admits she sometimes can’t believe how far the business has come.

“Launching and running the business with two very young children has been pretty tough, but I got through it,” she says. “I’m the sort of person that never gives up, no matter how hard it gets.

“Growth is good but it takes hard graft and new skills to make it work. We’ve learned from our mistakes and now have experience to fall back on. That’s how you find your own way.”

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