The Small Business Development Center of Hampton Road’s (SBDC) Early Education Business Program is a year-long program designed specifically for early education providers located in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk and Suffolk. The program, spearheaded by SBDC Business Analyst Lauren Small, is designed to assist childcare centers improve profitability, increase enrollment and adopt best business practices so they can focus on providing high-quality education.
This fall, the Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads (SBDC) will celebrate the graduation of 26 early childhood education centers from the cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach on their completion of the intensive Early Education Small Business Mentoring Program.
The Chesapeake graduation, to include dinner and a program, will be held on September 30 at 6pm at the Portlock Galleries at SoNo. The eight childcare centers participating include: Deep Creek Baptist Church Preschool; Great Things Christian Childcare; Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church Pre-School; Milestones Child Development Center; Mt. Lebanon Christian Academy; Mt. Pleasant Methodist Preschool; PROMOTE Family Preschool and Sandy’s Tender Care
The Norfolk graduation, to be held October 15 at 12pm at the Small Business Development Center’s office located within the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce will include lunch and program. These seven participating child care centers include: Adventure-In-Learning; Colonial Day School; New Hope Christian Daycare & Preschool; Noah’s Ark Christian School; ROC – Reconciliation Outreach Church Academy; The King’s Kidz Daycare and The Word Academy.
The Virginia Beach graduation on November 12 at noon at TCC, Virginia Beach Campus at the Advanced Technology Center, will include lunch and a program. The eleven childcare centers participating is this program include: A World of Children; Angels Keepers Pre-School & Daycare Center; Bayside Christian Church Children’s Learning Center; Beach Montessori Christian Academy; Brilliant Beginnings Learning Center; Emmanuel Episcopal Day School; Little Warriors; Mimmie’s Learning Academy; Parish Day School; Sowing Seeds Preschool and The Sitter, Inc.
"Our communities are looking at early childhood as a vital piece of their economic and workforce development strategies,” said Lauren Small. “The businesses that have graduated from the SBDC program have put in many hours learning and implementing new management skills and business best practices. This is critical to ensuring that the children in their care are in the highest quality environments possible."
This SBDC program began in 2009 through an innovative partnership with the city of Virginia Beach and a grant from Smart Beginnings South Hampton Roads. In 2010, the SBDC began working with the City of Virginia Beach’s GrowSmart initiative with the goal of improving financial stability of the centers, increasing marketing capability, reducing employee turnover and implementing best business practices. The program has expanded by partnering with the Suffolk Early Childhood Development Commission, Chesapeake R U Ready, and Norfolk's Ready by 5 initiatives. To date, 79 centers have participated in the SBDC Early Education Business Program, and those that have graduated from the program have increased their revenues by an average of 23% and enrollment by 29%.
In April 2013, the SBDC and Virginia Beach Economic Development were honored with an Outstanding Achievement in Innovation Award at the Alliance for Innovation’s Transforming Local Government Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia.
In June 2014, the program received the state’s Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Center Award by the U.S. Small Business Administration Richmond District Office. This award honors a Small Business Development Center Service Center for excellence in providing value to small businesses and advancing program delivery and management through innovation.
The 2015 program will begin in January. Prospective participants interested in growing their business, can contact Lauren Small at email@example.com or call 757-664-2590.