Former Scottish secondary school teacher builds children’s wellbeing franchise with support from Business Gateway

Karen Gibb (Founder and Director of Mind Marvels)

A FORMER Modern Studies teacher who experienced anxiety in her own childhood has successfully franchised her own wellbeing business after approaching Business Gateway for guidance.  

Mind Marvels gives children calming tools and practical strategies to understand their own emotions, feel more confident, and build resilience through community classes and sessions in primary schools and nurseries.  

Founder Karen Gibb started her career teaching at a Lanarkshire secondary school, but she found that typical classroom-style teaching didn’t lend itself to educating children about their emotional wellbeing.  

After going on to work with disadvantaged children in behavioural units, Karen soon became interested in mental health and started researching how to develop a formal programme of support.  

Having tried and tested methods that had helped to lessen her own anxiety over the years, Karen took the plunge and launched Mind Marvels in 2019.  

She has since worked with a substantial number of schools and nurseries across Scotland, on a mission to impact as many children’s lives as possible. Looking for ways to grow her business operations further, she approached Business Gateway in 2020 for advice.  

Through Business Gateway, Karen accessed one-to-one support from a business adviser, as well as specialist support from a Scottish Enterprise Intellectual Property specialist that ensured the protection of her ideas and programme. Karen also spoke to a legal specialist who advised that franchising was the best route to take for her business to grow.  

Armed with a successful blueprint that was ready to pass on to franchisees, and thanks to funding from North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire Councils, Karen accessed the Elevator Accelerator programme, tailored to business owners who are keen to fast-track their business offerings.  

Additionally, Karen benefitted from a Small Business Support Fund Grand from South Lanarkshire Council, which helped towards the purchase of a geographical mapping system of the UK, which will be used to determine specific geographical areas for franchising.  

Since approaching Business Gateway, Karen has signed her first franchisee, Angela Fisk, in East Kilbride, who also received grant funding to start her franchise. Karen is also in talks with other potential franchisees in Scotland, and now has plans to grow Mind Marvels UK-wide and help children who suffer from a mental health issue.  

Karen Gibb, Founder and Director, Mind Marvels, said: “I was an anxious youngster and, having worked as a teacher, I knew I could make a positive impact on children’s emotional wellbeing. My Business Gateway adviser has been a fantastic source of support and has been instrumental in helping to franchise Mind Marvels. I’m really grateful for all of their advice that will help to grow my business further.” 

Paul McIlvenny, Business Gateway adviser, said: “Franchising Mind Marvels means that likeminded individuals can help to make a difference to those children who need it most. We supported Karen through a range of Business Gateway’s growth services, which helped put her in touch with the right people and gave her access to critical funding. It’s been really rewarding to support a business that is clearly making a difference to our young people.” 

To find out how Business Gateway could help your business, visit  

The latest stories