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Improving communities’ child care through Small Business Development Centers

Updated: Oct 31, 2022

Our company, Early Education Business Consultants, seeks to elevate the quality and availability of child care throughout communities. One important approach to this goal is partnering with the Small Business Development Center in each region we work. SBDCs provide counseling and training to small businesses, including working with the national Small Business Association to develop and provide informational tools to support business start-ups and existing business expansion.

Why do we partner with SBDCs?

Because they understand the impact on workers and businesses, SBDCs are often the primary leaders in their communities to assist in moving the mark for the child care industry. Right now, communities across the country are struggling with a lack of available, reliable, safe, quality child care, making it difficult for parents to work, for companies to be fully staffed and minimize absenteeism, and for economies to thrive.

The early childhood industry has been exponentially impacted by Covid and the workforce crisis. Both issues have amplified how difficult it is to make the early childhood business model work successfully. Furthermore, most early childhood directors and owners have a background in education, not business—so they rarely have the knowledge or experience to run a profitable, well-managed business. SBDCs can help fill the void.

SBDCs often benefit by engaging with early childhood business specialists to help them understand the nuances of the child care business model. Early Education Business Consultants has become a go-to partner for SBDCs throughout the mid-Atlantic and beyond, to create change and meet specific early child care education needs in their communities. We give the SBDCs the information and tools to quickly support child care businesses and enable them to provide more high-level industry specific targeted support.

What do the consultants bring to SBDCs?

We begin our work with a deep assessment of the community—meeting with city and county stakeholders to understand the gaps in their early childhood landscape and the specific business needs. Many communities are asking for help to create sustainable small child care businesses, increase the availability of child care, and help with stabilizing staffing in the child care businesses.

Once the SBDC and their partners develop or expand an initiative with defined goals, Early Education Business Consultants will collaborate with them in three key areas:

1. Community consulting to build sustainable business supports through SBDC partnership— This service brings people together with a common goal to increase the availability of child care and the success of child care businesses.

2. The Early Education Business Program—a full curriculum to teach best business practices to child care centers (both for-profit and non-profit). We also provide a different program to educate home child care businesses. All three types of businesses are critical in any community to provide access, and the home-based providers are typically the most prevalent programs in child care deserts.

3. Train-the-Trainer Program—a service that teaches SBDC business coaches the nuances of the child care business model. They complete the business program and gain a better understanding of how to support the child care program owners and their staff.

What are some “wins” we typically see from assisting SBDCs?

When surveying the outcome of our services within each region, we’ve found on average that 90% of SBDC business coaches have improved confidence with the child care business model. Access to EEBC’s training curriculum and materials has saved SBDCs considerable time and money by providing ready-made materials and tactics.

The most meaningful results, though, are how much deeper an impact the SBDCs and their partnering cities and counties are able to make on the child care industry. Hampton Roads, VA, is a prime example—as the first region Early Education Business Consultants begin supporting. Our efforts have yielded improvements in child care centers’ financial stability, education quality, and staff retention/hiring.

“Early Education Business Consultants has earned the respect of our Chesapeake child care community. Not only do they understand the challenging business model of child care, they understand the vital social and business impact that child care has with our families and businesses. By building strong relationships within the child care community, they are able to provide technical assistance and business management support that helps our centers increase enrollment and revenue.” Kathryn Jessee Senior Community Programs Specialist Chesapeake Department of Human Services
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