In April of 2021, Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and UW-Madison, Division of Extension developed a plan to expand business development opportunities for exiting and pre-venture child care providers. The effort was called the Wisconsin Child Care Business Initiative. The project aimed to improve or grow existing child care business operations and help new owners chart their course to success. With the support of the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) and the nine Wisconsin Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) Agencies, the Wisconsin Child Care Business Initiative was launched – read more about the initial child care business accelerator program in Green County and the push to move this effort statewide out of Crawford County
The Wisconsin Child Care Business Initiative included five “Build It Strong” courses delivered by trained WECA staff and assisted by Extension and a sponsorship program to expand educational opportunities for child care providers coordinated with the nine regional CCR&R agencies.
By the end of September, 619 people participated in the project (103 participants in the WECA Course and 516 in CCR&R courses). A total of 150 participants did not own a child care business but were looking at opening one, and 443 of the participants identified themselves as owning or being part of an existing business. In the end, the Wisconsin Child Care Business Initiative included participants from 63 of the 72 Wisconsin counties located in 148 communities across the state.
This project was made possible by the critical support of several Extension Educators located across the state including Jessica Beckendorf (Waupaca), Amy Greil (Kenosha), Amanda Griswold (Crawford), Michelle Grimm (Taylor), Sarah Hawks (Racine), Melissa Kono (Clark and Trempealeau), Victoria Solomon (Green), and Jessica Jane Spayde (Crawford).