The Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads (SBDC) celebrated the graduation of 16 early childhood education centers from the cities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake on their completion of the intensive Early Education Small Business Mentoring Program. The program, spearheaded by SBDC Business Analyst Lauren Small, is designed to assist childcare centers in improving profitability, increasing enrollment and adopting best business so that they can focus on providing high quality education.
The Virginia Beach graduation was held on October 1st at the Virginia Beach Economic Development Office. Virginia Beach Mayor, Will Sessoms, was the keynote speaker and explained the importance of early education to the economic vitality of the City. The eight childcare centers participating is this program saw an average increase of 23% in enrollment with more than 771 children impacted by these centers. Centers included Sandbridge Chapel Day School, King’s Kids Childcare, Plaza Baptist Christian Preschool, Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation, KidzWorld Learning Center, Rollingwood Academy, London Bridge Baptist Preschool and Kindergarten, and LeBon Enfants.
On October 8th, the Chesapeake graduation was held at the Portlock Galleries at SoNo located in South Norfolk. Special guest, Dr. Wanda Barnard-Bailey, Chesapeake Deputy City Manager, spoke of the city’s commitment and support to their early education providers. These eight participating child care centers impacted more than 559 children with an average increase of 15% in enrollment. Centers included CFC Preschool and Childcare, Beulah Duke Learning Academy, Right Start Early Childhood Center, Quality Childcare, Small Voices’ Academy, Greenbrier Montessori School, Cedar Road Christian Academy, and Great Bridge Presbyterian Preschool.
Small stated, “I’m so proud of the accomplishments of these amazing early education leaders who just completed a rigorous and demanding year-long business development program. The child care and education services they provide are vital to our communities and we are so fortunate that the cities of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach recognize that importance by funding this program."
Since 2010, the Small Business Development Center Early Education Small Business Program has given assistance to 107 centers through innovative partnerships with the cities of Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Norfolk and Smart Beginnings Virginia Peninsula.
“Over the last year our preschool has more than doubled enrollment and is operating in the black for the first time in many years,” said Beth Comerford, Director, Sandbridge Day School in Virginia Beach. “The SBDC Early Education Early Education Business Program helped us to look at every piece of our business operations so that we could improve and remain competitive.”
“Taking the "Chesapeake RU Ready?" sponsored business course was so helpful for me,” said Beulah Duke of Beulah Duke Learning Academy. “I knew very little about the business of child care and learned so much from Mrs. Small and the classes. We were able to develop our vision, goals, philosophy, job descriptions and even a logo for the academy. Our enrollment has doubled in the last year because of the knowledge gained from the marketing session of the class.”
The award-winning, free program provides participants with one-on-one mentoring and coursework in strategic planning; leadership; business systems; HR management; web marketing; budgeting; and financial management. Since it began in 2010, representatives from 107 small businesses have successfully completed the program.
For more information, contact Lauren Small at firstname.lastname@example.org or (757) 618-9218.