24 Graduate From Early Education Small Business Training

Monday, November 17, 2014

Twenty-four early education leaders representing 11 small businesses graduated last week from the 2014 Early Education Small Business Training and Mentoring Program.  

The program, which just concluded its fifth year, is run by Lauren Small, a certified business analyst with the Small Business Development Center of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. It is sponsored by GrowSmart, a division of the city’s Department of Economic Development.


The program helps childcare and early education business owners grow their businesses and improve the quality of services they provide to children and families. It includes classes on such topics as human resource management, budgeting and accounting practices, marketing and website management. Participants also receive 12 months of intensive, one-on-one mentoring by Small to develop and implement customized plans.


The program began in 2010, with funding from Smart Beginnings South Hampton Roads. Each year, as the program has consistently posted strong outcomes, the city increased its investment, and it is now fully supported by city funds.


In June, the U.S. Small Business Administration awarded the 2014 Excellence & Innovation Award to the Hampton Roads SBDC for the success of the Early Education Program. In 2014, the program benefitted 714 children. To date, more than 2,000 local children have benefited from being enrolled in sites committed to quality improvement through participation in the program. At least 45 new jobs have been created and participating businesses average between 15 percent and 25 percent revenue growth each year.


Deputy City Manager Cindy Curtis was the keynote speaker for Wednesday’s graduation ceremony. She congratulated the graduates for their accomplishments and challenged them to continue on a path of lifelong learning. Small recognized the graduating class for its hard work, which has paid off in a significant reduction in employee turnover and a record-high 30 percent increase in enrollment.


“The City of Virginia Beach has amazing childcare providers who are committed to doing their part to achieve higher quality.” Small said. “I'm so proud of this year's business graduates. They really blew it out of the water, achieving the strongest outcomes to date for the business mentoring program.” 


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