There’s a powerful new opportunity for women who own early education and care programs: the Early Education and Care Small Business Innovation Center (EECSBIC).
Launched last year by the Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children (BTWIC), the innovation center provides these small business owners with “contextualized” training to help them improve their operations.
A video posted on YouTube highlights some of the innovation center’s work. And on Saturday at 8 a.m., Boston Mayor Marty Walsh will attend a ceremony celebrating the center’s first cohort of graduates.
As the innovation center explains on its website, “Over 2/3 of early education and care programs in Massachusetts are small businesses, most of them home-based and women-owned. These entrepreneurs not only educate and nurture young children, they manage the finances of their program, handle record keeping and licensing, and hire staff.”
“Through hands-on technology training and one-on-one coaching to streamline and enhance business practices, the EECSBIC has helped foster economic stability for a cohort of 17 businesses in Greater Roxbury / Dudley, one of Boston’s lowest-income neighborhoods.”
The video features several of these business owners, including Melissa Phillips who has been a family child care provider for six years. In the video, Phillips says she thinks the program will help her with budgeting and time management and also give her a sense of her “options for growth.”
Wayne Ysaguirre, a Bessie Tartt Wilson trustee says, “The truth is… it’s a healthy business that achieves positive ends for kids. It does me no good if I know a lot about early education and I haven’t created a healthy, successful business model.” The key to delivering quality early education and care, he says, is to deliver it through strong, long-lasting businesses. Ysaguirree is also the president and CEO of Nurtury, a local center-based early education and care provider.
Interested in this training – or know someone who might be? The innovation center is currently recruiting members for its second cohort: “Early education and care business owners in the Greater Roxbury / Dudley area are encouraged to message our Senior Researcher, Kira Taj.”
Writing in a recent newsletter, Marie St. Fleur, BTWIC’s president and CEO, explains: “We know that quality is the key to any successful early education program, and family childcare providers, as small business owners, have a particularly difficult set of tasks at hand.”
She adds: “As one caregiver puts it, ‘you’re a teacher, you’re a cook, you’re a cleaner… everything.’ Not only must these women provide high-quality learning experiences to the children for whom they care, they must also manage their budgeting, marketing, and HR needs.”
Helping business owners meet these many needs is a win-win: it’s a step forward for small businesses and an educational victory for young children.