NYCHA Supports Childcare Center Entrepreneurs
Some NYCHA residents dream of owning their own businesses, but don’t have the financial support or training to get their ideas off the ground. NYCHA’s Food Business Pathways program has helped more than 130 residents launch the food-based businesses of their dreams. Launched at the end of 2016, Childcare Business Pathways (CBP) helps residents who want to start their own childcare businesses.
CBP is a partnership between NYCHA’s Resident Economic Empowerment & Sustainability office (REES), New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS), Business Outreach Network (BOCNet), Childcare Development Support Corporation (CDSC), and Citi Community Development.
CBP provides NYCHA residents with just about everything they need to start up, including free training, licensing, and technical assistance, as well as grants to pay for certifications and start-up supplies. Resident participants receive business education, specialized childcare workshops, and certification courses in health and safety, CPR and first aid, and medication administration.
Meet three CBP graduates who are now the proud owners of new daycares.
Miss Latoya’s Daycare
Sheepshead Bay Houses, Brooklyn
Ms. Culp has lived at Sheepshead for 17 years. As the oldest of six, she has been caring for children since she was a little girl. She is a mother of four children and a grandmother to one. Her business is licensed to care for eight children and she currently cares for three.
Why do you want to open your own daycare? “Taking care of kids is something that just comes to me. Even when I was a teenager, people called me ‘Grandma’ because I was always taking care of someone. I graduated from BMCC in 1998 with an Associate’s degree in human services. I recently found a grant proposal I wrote while at BMCC for a youth center. It made me feel proud; I’ve started doing something geared towards what I wanted to do when I was in college.”
What are your future plans for your business? “I’ve just started. I know it’s going to take time to get it off the ground but my plan is to expand my business. There’s a commercial space here in my neighborhood that I would love to have.”
Would you recommend CBP to other residents? “I have already! The program gave me more knowledge and insight on what it takes to be a business owner. What was also great was that I was already seeking a way to get involved in the childcare program; CPB offered a lot more than I would’ve received if I tried to do things on my own—I wouldn’t have been able to afford starting my own daycare on my own.”
Owner of Fatou Lowe Group Family Daycare
646-280-0449 or 917-443-1843
Adams Houses, Bronx
Ms. Lowe has lived at Adams for seven years. She worked at an outside daycare facility for two years and had plenty of experience caring for children with her six sisters and one brother. She is also a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College studying liberal arts. Her business is licensed to care for up to 10 children and she currently cares for two.
Why did you want to open your own daycare? “I wanted to help parents and my mother and I share this passion and we can work together. I liked being in the CBP program because they helped me understand the business side, how to handle the finances, advertise, and how to handler our clients.”
Why should people choose your daycare? “I think of my daycare as unique. Since I’m a private owner, I want to add things for the kids, like gymnastics in the summertime because it would be good for physical strength. I also want to add lifestyle skills to the program, like cooking and hair braiding.”
What are your future plans? “I hope to become a pediatrician in the future so right now I’m getting as much experience as I can interacting with the children at my daycare.”
Owner of Daisy “B”abies Group Family Day Care
South Bronx Site 402
Ms. Blake has been a NYCHA resident for 18 years and a caregiver for many years as well. She spent 10 years as a resident manager of a group home with Advocates for Services for the Blind Multihandicapped, Inc. and works part-time as a caseworker for an agency that provides care for people with developmental disabilities. She is also a foster parent with Catholic Guardian Services. Her business is licensed to care for 10 children.
Why did you enroll in Childcare Business Pathways? “I was in the process of trying to obtain my license myself but it was taking me a while. I saw the flyer and received an email about the program. Going through the program helped me learned so much along the way, like how to market my business, how to research competitors in the area and make my daycare unique, and how to handle finances.”
What do you want parents to know about your daycare? “I’d like parents of children with special needs to know that my daycare is open to them. I used to work in group homes and before adults with special needs come into our group homes, they’re children at home with their parents, and they need support. I have volunteers willing to provide speech therapy and physical therapy for children that need it.”
What are your future business plans? “Eventually, I want to have a center-based setting. And I’d love to be able to expand and have more than one location.”
To learn more about the Childcare Business Pathways program, visit: opportunitynycha.org/business-development/childcare-business-pathways.