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31 May 2022

King's student reaches finals of Mayor's entrepreneur contest with science subscription box idea

Chemistry teacher and King’s student Francis Jones earned a place in the finals of the Mayor’s Entrepreneur 2022 programme competition with his STEM@Home project.

Two students doing science experiment at home through a STEM@Home kit. Courtesy of STEM@Home.
Photo: Courtesy of STEM@Home.

Francis Jones, currently completing his MA in STEM Education in the School of Education, Communication & Society, is one of the 25 finalists of the Mayor of London’s Entrepreneur Programme competition with his STEM@Home idea.

STEM@Home is a monthly subscription box that sends required practicals with all relevant exam questions to students’ homes each month.

The venture was born during the Covid-19 lockdowns, when Chemistry teacher Francis realised that students would be tested on practical experience despite not having had a chance to do their practicals. He therefore decided to change the way they can do their GCSE Science practicals so they can complete them at home and at times that suit them.

He has been developing his project with the support of Dr Richard Brock and Dr Heather King, respectively lecturer and reader in science education at King’s, as well as his fellow science teachers on the STEM Education MA course.

A socially responsible element to STEM@Home was built in the business early on: for every box purchased, they will donate a box to a student who needs it but cannot afford it.

Last March he submitted his idea to the Mayor of London’s Entrepreneur Programme, which is a competition for London’s students to come up with viable, sustainable business ideas. Each of the winners gets £20k to start up their business along with expert mentoring from staff at City Hall to get their idea to market.

Francis earned a place in the finals on 31 May in the Social Enterprise category during which each person pitches their idea in a Dragon’s den style event to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and a panel of celebrity judges.

Francis said if he were to win, he would use the funding to establish direct links to grassroot education charities across London, who will be key to assuring the impact of his idea as they can help him identify students who can most benefit from it.

“Local grassroot education charities have their ears to the ground and they know who in their local communities could use STEM@Home for free, so I need to work with them in order to make the biggest impact.”

He also said his course at King’s has highlighted further why scientific literacy should be available to all.

Doing the MA has reaffirmed my belief that science learning can and does change lives for the better. Having scientific literacy makes people have better lives and if STEM@Home can help a student who might not have that opportunity but has the drive, capacity and passion to develop their scientific literacy, then STEM@Home has achieved its goal.

Francis Jones, MA student and founder of STEM@Home

In this story

Francis Jones

Alumnus of the STEM Education MA

Heather King0050_Reduced

Professor in Science Education


Senior Lecturer in Science Education

Melissa Glackin

Reader in Science & Environmental Education