STAMFORD, Conn. — A partnership between the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) and the CT Office of Early Childhood (OEC) began in 2020 to support child care businesses through the WBDC Child Care Business Support Program and Opportunity Fund. In its first two years, the program — powered by this first-of-its-kind partnership — has distributed 366 grants to 219 child care businesses, totaling $4.19 million in funding to Connecticut’s child care providers — an industry devastated by the pandemic.
Interested child care providers can apply for the next round of grants October 4 – 31, 2022. Applicants are encouraged to visit ctwbdc.org/child-care-
One of these grant recipients, Nichelle Waddell, Owner of Watch Me Grow Daycare, said “receiving a WBDC grant allowed me to grow and expand my program. All thanks to the training, guidance, and generous financial support from the WBDC, I will now be able to open up a second Group daycare in Norwalk. This will allow me the ability to offer care for 12 children. I will also be expanding again in January 2023 and adding two more classrooms to that program, for a total of 4 classrooms. I could not have done any of this without the generous support, encouragement, guidance, and training that I have received from the WBDC! During the pandemic, it is nothing short of a miracle. The WBDC truly changes lives and makes dreams come true!”
In addition to the Child Care Business Opportunity Fund grants, the WBDC Child Care Business Support Program is designed to support, sustain, and grow child care businesses in Connecticut through entrepreneurial education and technical assistance. The program has shown in its first two years to not only have affected economic growth and job creation in that industry, but has also yielded positive outcomes for many of the state’s child care providers. To date, the program has helped providers create and retain over 5,700 jobs, and support 20,760 slots for children.
“At a time when access to child care was one of the most critical factors impacting return to work during and after the pandemic, Gov. Lamont recognized the need to bolster this essential industry for the good of Connecticut’s economy, our families and, most importantly, our children,” said WBDC CEO Fran Pastore. “WBDC is proud to have been called upon by our state leadership to provide technical support and administer grants to child care providers across Connecticut. I hope this unique partnership can be used as a model for other states facing similar challenges in this sector.”
In the last round of awards, the WBDC Child Care Business Opportunity Fund was able to provide 130 grants totaling $1.65 million to Connecticut-based child care businesses.
“We are thrilled to continue our work with WBDC to support a child care industry in great need of resources,” said OEC Commissioner Beth Bye. ”The Child Care Business Support Program and Opportunity Fund have already had an amazing impact, but there is still plenty of work to do. Our continued work with WBDC presents an opportunity to do so much more for these businesses that are pivotal to Connecticut families and the state’s economy.”
The Opportunity Fund grants are designed to help licensed and aspiring child care businesses grow, and feature a wide range of grant programs that relate to the different stages of a child care business, from start-ups to those ready to expand their business.
Grant programs offered through the Opportunity Fund:
- Start Up Grant Program: Up to $25,000 to help individuals in financial need become licensed and operating child care providers with the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC).
- Expansion Grant Program: Up to $25,000 to qualified child care businesses preparing to expand their businesses to grow their operations and create additional slots or revenue streams.
- Emergency Facilities Grant Program: Up to $25,000 to qualified child care businesses suffering severe revenue shortages cover emergency facilities maintenance projects to keep their business open and operating safely.
- Business Incentive Program: Offers licensed child care businesses in Connecticut a customized business development incentive program. Incentives include technology, cash grants, vouchers and more.
Please contact JoAnn Gulbin if you would like her to connect you with a child care grant recipient in your coverage area.
About the Women’s Business Development Council
The Women’s Business Development Council’s (WBDC) mission is to support economic prosperity for women and strengthen communities through entrepreneurial and financial education services that create and grow sustainable jobs and businesses across Connecticut. WBDC educates, motivates, and empowers women to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency. Since 1997, WBDC has educated and trained more than 16,670 clients in all of Connecticut’s 169 towns—helping women to launch, sustain, and scale over 12,500 businesses, create and maintain over 25,880 jobs in Connecticut, and access more than $28.7 million in capital. Visit ctwbdc.org for more information.
About the OEC
The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) advances a two-generation family-centered approach in our pursuit of optimal health, safety, and learning outcomes for young children. Through our core programs, we support infant and toddler care, preschool, after-school care, child care and youth camp licensing, home visiting, and early intervention to address developmental delays. The OEC is working toward better coordinated, cost-effective services that support Connecticut’s youngest children and families.