Youth Enterprise

Lab Rascals shortlisted for national award

21st August 2014

A young entrepreneur from Hull has been shortlisted in the Lloyds Bank National Enterprise Awards 2014 for her hands-on scientific entertainment company, Lab Rascals

Student Katie Norman set up the independent business in 2013 after conducting research into her idea of science parties for children aged between 5-14 at the University of Hull, and now successfully hosts a number of workshops across schools in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. 

Katie had been shortlisted from hundreds of applications from the top student and graduate entrepreneurs in the country in order to compete for a share of £50,000 cash investment and two year mentoring programme. 

Katie said: “I am really pleased to be shortlisted for the Lloyds national Enterprise Awards and am looking forward to the next stages in September and October, over the last year my business has grown from strength to strength and I have received support from many organisations involved in the youth enterprise agenda in Hull.

“I set up Lab Rascals in order to demonstrate that science can be fun and is about exploring the world around us by investigating and experimenting. I want to help inspire more children to take an active interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) by offering a range of hands-on interactive science parties, workshops and festival entertainment.”

During her Masters Degree in Chemistry at the University of Hull, Katie’s research highlighted the demand for science parties and the need for more STEM outreach and support for primary schools. Since conducting the research she began offering science parties and workshops, alongside training days for primary school teachers to help tackle any issues they may have when delivering science lessons in school and provided them with a support network of experts in the STEM fields.


Ruth Badger, Patron of Hull Youth Enterprise Partnership, Said:
  Since my appearance in the BBC Apprentice Series I have met a number of great young entrepreneurs in Hull and Katie follows in that tradition. During the last year I have watched her grow in stature and become a great young entrepreneur who fully deserves this recognition, and I and my fellow Patrons will be hoping that she wins the final prize to move her business on to the next level.

The Grand Final will take place in Edgbaston on Wednesday, October 15. An expert business panel including Tim Campbell, former Apprentice winner and founder of the Bright Ideas Trust – will judge the finalists.

Councillor Martin Mancey, Portfolio Holder at Hull City Council, said:

We would like to congratulate Katie on her success after receiving yet more national recognition for her fantastic entrepreneurial skills and innovative business idea, Lab Rascals.

After being shortlisted for the Great British Entrepreneurs Awards 2013 and winning the Shell LiveWIRE Award earlier this year, we now wish her the best of luck for the Lloyds Bank National Enterprise Awards 2014 and hope she can once again prove to the judges how passionate she is in order to take the next step towards building her empire.

“Katie is an exceptional young businesswoman who has brought science and fun together for adults and young people alike and she should be applauded for remarkable achievements so far which is not only great news for Lab Rascals, but for the city as well.”

Katie is a member of the John Cracknell Youth Enterprise Bank panel and is the  northern commissioner for the national youth agency commission into youth entrepreneurship. Where she assist new business start-ups and researches into how to help more youths set-up and succeed in business. 

Katie has also invented a new green energy board game with a group of year 9 school children from Malet Lambert School and young entrepreneurs Engaging Education  the  aim of this project is to educate children about renewable energy sources, alongside how to conduct market research and product design. She is aiming to get this game on the market after the successful pilot study at the big bang fair2014. 

Due to the positive feedback and the success of this product she is planning to run more science and enterprising projects in the future. Enterprising and STEM areas are becoming  more vital for the economy growth of the city, therefore she hopes to inspire many children into these areas.

Shell Livewire article 2014

How a Shell LiveWIRE Award Helped Educate Children about the Environmental Impact of CO2 Emissions (Posted by Katie Norman)

Katie Norman (Lab Rascals)
22 July, 2014
Lab Rascals is a scientific entertainment company which began trading in June 2013, as a result of two years’ research into science education and outreach with Hull University.
We provide unique children’s science parties and hands-on science workshops which are designed to promote creativity, problem-solving and teamwork. All workshops were developed with the national curriculum in mind. Each workshop has relevance to the national curriculum and also exhibits cross-curricular links, especially between Maths, English and Art and Design. The workshops do not only tackle aspects of the national curriculum in an enjoyable, interactive way, but they also introduce children to GCSE level topics before secondary school. The workshops have been tested on over 200 children to ensure suitability for all children. 

So far Lab Rascals has been shortlisted for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards in 2013 and won a Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Award in March 2014. The £1000 prize money from the Shell LiveWIRE award was used to design a green energy board game with Malert Lambert School with help from Engaging Education Ltd. As the director of Lab Rascals, I am a member of the John Cracknell Youth Enterprise Bank and the Enterprising Northern Commissioner for the National Youth Association, where I help to promote enterprise and support youths with their business ventures. Due to the enterprising support I have helped to provide to young people, the Duke of York invited me and four others to Buckingham Palace to discuss possible ways to promote enterprise to young people on a wider scale. 

Katie Norman (Lab Rascals)
The green energy board game was a product idea aimed at teaching children about green energy and the local companies in the Hull area. It was also designed to educate children about the importance of saving energy and the environmental impact of CO2 emissions. The process of producing the game included forming a partnership with Engaging Education Ltd, seeking funding from the Shell LiveWIRE award, researching the local companies and running a workshop with year nines at Malert Lambert School on product design. The children did all the market research, scientific research and product design over a few days with assistance from Lab Rascals and Engaging Education Ltd. 

The prototype was successfully test run at the big bang fair in Doncaster on the 24th June and the aim now is to seek investment to get the game on the market and into schools as a fun interactive teaching tool. This will hopefully have an impact by educating children on green energy, teaching them to save energy to reduce CO2 output and letting them know what local companies are nearby which they might consider working for in the future.

Katie Norman (Lab Rascals)

In the future we are hoping to get some scientific toys, games and apps on the market alongside designing some new school workshops which will be aimed at education children on scientific principles and enterprising. One of the games we are hoping to develop in the near future is one based on scientists and their discoveries and inventions. This will hopefully educate children on the processes scientists go through and give recognition to often forgotten about scientist. Winning the Shell LiveWIRE award provided Lab Rascals with the initial funding for our first of many products. Hopefully the success of the green energy game will provide the funding to kick start other products in the future.

About Katie Norman (Founder and Director of Lab Rascals)

Katie Norman is the founder and director of Lab Rascals, an independent science entertainment company based in Hull and Yorkshire, which aims to provide scientific hands-on entertainment to children aged 5-14. All children highly enjoy scientific discovery but most are unaware they’re performing experiments in their own homes. All children will at some point try mixing cosmetic products, making perfume, collecting worms and building dens. All of these activities include several aspects of science which many parents don’t realise. Science is all about discovering the world around us and how things work. The business offers several school workshops and science party packages aimed at both boys and girls alongside tailored science parties and school workshops to the individual customer.

You can follow Katie on Twitter at @labrascals

Hull Daily Mail - 27 Aug 2014



  • Brilliant from start to finish!! The children loved it, and the grandparents were equally entertained! Great value for money too. All I needed to do was feed them! Even tidied up before you went home! We have a pair of goggles here which I can post to you xx

    Gemma Bradley

  • My Daughter attended the Candy Chaos session at Bilton Village Hall today. Booking was very easy and quick. The staff were very friendly even taking the time to talk to the parents at the end of the session explaining what the children did and i enjoyed sampling the sherbet im also the bookings clerk of the hall that was used today. Katie and the team were very friendly and left the hall in an immaculate state once finished!!

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  • Took my 2 boys aged 6 & 9 to the volcano workshop and wow what an experience they loved it and didn't want it to end! will be booking again, staff were so friendly and helpful and made the session so much fun!

    Annalise Walker


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