We the Curious is an educational charity and science centre, guided by its mission to connect and empower through sharing creative experiences which celebrate unknowns in science. Its charitable work is only made possible through the support of visitors, members and donors and funding generated by its commercial operation including hospitality, retail, car park and rentals.
The centre was forced to close for fourteen months (March 2020-May 2021) due to the pandemic and lost £2.7m. Consequently, the charity had to cut its operating costs by £2m, reduce its staff salary bill by a third and spend down its investments and reserves. With income anticipated to be severely impacted for some time to come the charity identified a need to diversify and grow an alternative income steam.
The grant was used to set up an online shop selling ethically sourced, sustainable STEM related products and resources.
Project Cost: £7,500
Grant Awarded: £5,980
The initial investment has allowed We the Curious to move much faster towards implementing growth initiatives at exactly the time when it has been most needed. Income from the shop will not only support the organisation to deliver on its mission but enable it to retain and create new jobs in the future and support Bristol’s recovery as a whole.
Harriet Spita, Retail Manager for We the Curious said: “We didn’t have the inhouse skills to successfully set up an online shop so the grant enabled us to invest in specialist consultancy support. That meant we were able to carry out competitor analysis, develop a brand narrative for the shop, research seasonal product lines; as well as developing stock evaluation, investment planning and marketing strategies, and sales forecasts.
“We’ve integrated the online shop with our website and the retail operation at the centre and will look to expand our range of products over the coming months.”
The grants supported businesses from all sectors to recover from the challenges presented by Covid-19. Grants of up to £6,000 were available to support businesses with their plans to sustain or drive growth, by implementing new business practices or adopting new ways of working.