Applications are open for CEI’s Child Care Business Lab

BRUNSWICK — To address the shortage of child care providers in rural Maine, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. is offering its Child Care Business Lab starting in March.

BRUNSWICK — To address the shortage of child care providers in rural Maine, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. is offering its Child Care Business Lab starting in March. CEI is currently accepting applications for the 2022 Child Care Business Lab for individuals living in Aroostook, Franklin, Hancock, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, and Washington counties. Applications are due February 18 at 5 p.m. The application and more information are available at Child Care Business Lab | CEI (ceimaine.org).

“People across Maine are expressing an interest in starting a child care business and a passion for early childhood development,” said Cynthia Murphy, Senior Workforce Solutions Program Director. works at CEI. “But they need help planning and implementing the business, including how to set fees, hire staff and find the money to get started. They also ask to be accompanied throughout the licensing process.

The Child Care Business Lab is an intensive, cohort-based program that provides entrepreneurs with the tools they need to start a successful small business. As part of the program, instructors help participants refine their childcare philosophy and guide them through the licensing process. Designed as an experiential leadership opportunity, the Child Care Business Lab offers a model for a financially viable non-profit, for-profit, cooperative, or shared child care business.

The six-month program includes 10 two-hour workshops conducted live via Zoom, three in-person sessions (pending COVID-safe circumstances), six hours of on-demand e-learning sessions, bi-weekly one-on-one meetings with a business advisor and personalized coaching sessions with a childcare sponsor. Over the course of six months, participants will complete all of the requirements to obtain a license.

The program is offered free to all participants, with funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation, and the John T. Gorman Foundation.

Drawing on decades of experience – CEI designed the Child Care Business Lab with help from Maine Roads to Quality, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services Office of Child and Family Services Children’s Licensing and Investigation Services and the Maine Association for the Education of Young Children. Over its 44-year history, CEI has advised and/or provided over $14 million in financing to 179 child care business owners, helping to create or preserve 6,850 child care niches. children. Since the launch of the Child Care Business Lab in March 2020, 11 new businesses with 144 childcare spaces have opened and several more are in the final stages of licensing, with another 100 childcare spaces expected. over the next six months.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Child Care Gap Analysis Project found a 9.2 percent gap between need and access for children under age six in Maine whose parents are working. Rural Maine has the greatest child care needs.

Create good businesses that are good for families. Participants in the Child Care Business Lab are motivated by a variety of factors. Some, like Miranda Taylor, in Guangzhou, are mothers who want to create a good job that combines their professional experience with family life. “I always dreamed of having my own daycare center after working in a kindergarten for six years. CEI’s Childcare Business Lab prepared me for the licensing process, to get a business loan, and to build a daycare at my house,” Taylor said. “Months later, I now have my own successful business that fills a need in my community. I can walk down the hall to work everyday with my daughter.

Others are grandmothers, including Tabitha Bennett, who said: “When my first grandchild was born and my daughter wanted to go back to work, she couldn’t find daycare. The solution? I opened Little Bird Child Care in Pembroke in 2020 and now we are very busy. Taking care of the kids is the easy part. Running the business and putting all the ducks in line – CEI had laid it all out step by step which was really helpful.

Nonprofit organizations, such as Mano en Mano in Milbridge, are also adding mission-aligned childcare programs. “We were already working with migrant children during the blueberry season, so it was only natural to create a childcare program. I really enjoyed being in the Child Care Business Lab with others in the state and then having a business advisor for our unique situation,” said Juana Rodriguez-Vazquez, Interim Executive Director of Mano en Mano.

The Child Care Business Lab can also help people involved in child care get licensed and earn more money.

Coastal Enterprises, Inc. helps grow good jobs, environmentally sustainable businesses, and shared prosperity in Maine and rural parts of the country by integrating financing, business and industry expertise, and policy solutions. For more information, visit www.ceimaine.org.

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