Category Archives: Child Care

A Closer Look at Early Childhood Education Entrepreneurs

Child care providers have a tremendous role in a child’s life. They are responsible for providing a safe environment and engaging programs to meet the needs of children at multiple ages. In addition to providing a place where parents are comfortable leaving their children, providers must meet state requirements related to safety and care. There are many factors that play an important role in being a successful child care provider.

The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) offers an Early Childhood Education Entrepreneurship Program  designed to provide a full range of business services to prospective and existing child care entrepreneurs for home and center-based child care businesses. At our annual Early Childhood Education Entrepreneurship Expo we highlight a few outstanding child care providers that have benefited from our program. Take a closer look.


ECCE expo award headshot_jgarrett

“I definitely want to make a name for myself. I want to be known as great and quality in childcare. I’ve always had a love for children.”


Josephine Garrett, Owner, Learning for a Lifetime Childcare Center 

Josephine went back to school to obtain her Early Childhood director credentials, worked on her credit and waited for the right opportunity to present itself.  She acquired an existing day care in the South Loop licensed for 34 children, has retained the staff and is making improvements to increase enrollment.  Also, she is a recipient of a WBDC loan.  Josephine has a sound plan in place to grow the program and improve business operations.  Her goal is to be able to offer quality programs that will enrich her children and prepare them for school.  She participated in the WBDC’s 10-week Developing Your Child Care Business in 2012 as she was ready to make the transition from corporate to entrepreneur. Josephine was selected for the Fast Track award as she embodies the spirit of a true entrepreneur.

ECCE expo award headshot_SPollnitz2


“Childcare was a passion. As a young girl I knew that I wanted to work with children. I knew that I wanted to own my own childcare program.”

Shanetha Pollnitz, Owner, Tiny Tots Tabernacle

Shanetha Pollnitz has been a home based provider for the past 11 years in Bellwood, IL.  She is licensed for 12 children by day and 7 at night for a total of 19 children.  Shanetha came to the WBDC through our entrepreneurial training sessions conducted through our South Suburban Assistance Center with Cook County.  She is a leader in the industry and very active with Illinois Action for Children, participating in providing input around policies that affect the child care industry.

Last November, she became the President of the West Suburban Providers Associations previously lead by Faith Arnold.  Shanetha also mentors her peers to improve their programs and provides support around operating a home based business.  She recently completed the WBDC 10-week program as she is looking for the opportunity to expand into a center-based business.


For more information about the Women’s Business and Development Center and its 16th Annual Early Childhood Education Entrepreneurship Expo, visit and


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May 20, 2014 · 3:36 pm

Gear Up for Growth – WBDC’s Child Care Business Expo Boosts Business in Chicago

Did you join the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) for our 15th Anniversary Child Care Business Expo on June 1st?  If you missed it, here’s a rundown of the inspirational and educational day:

Over 500 attendees…

Child Care Business Expo

visited 55 Exhibitors ranging from Illinois Action for Children to Dominick’s…

Exhibitors CCBE 2013

 and heard from 5 Deserving Award Winners.

Watch the video playlist below to meet:

– Arabel Alva Rosales, AAR & Associates, LTD., Child Care Champion Award Winner

– Lindsay Cochrane, representing Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Friend of Child Care Award Winner

– Peg Dunne Pavelec, Little Inspirations, Fast Track Award Winner

– Teresa Gomez, Wonderland Day Care Center & Wonderland Home Day Care, Unsung Hero Award Winner

Dr. Latrice Walker, Pre-Fit, Hedy M. Ratner & S. Carol Dougal Legacy Award Winner

Child Care Business Expo Legacy Award

2 Shift Into High Gear Afternoon Workshops taught entrepreneurs effective marketing and business finance.

CCBE Afternoon Workshop

2 Stellar Expo Chairs – Patty Kryscha, Southwest Airlines & Kimberlee Burt, A Child’s Space welcomed guests.

Expo Co Chairs

2 Dynamic Honorary Co-Chairs

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle & Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon (not pictured)

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle opening the Exhibit Hall with WBDC co-president Hedy Ratner (w/ scissors)

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle opening the Exhibit Hall with WBDC co-president Hedy Ratner (w/ scissors) and Expo Co-Chair Kimberlee Burt (far right).

One powerful Luncheon panel shared their insights into the future of Illinois child care.

Luncheon Panel

(L-R): Kate Cozzani, Monique Draper, Janice Lopez and Arabel Alva Rosales

Did you experience the Expo with us?  Do you have any questions that didn’t get answered at one of the workshops? Ask them below!

To see more pictures from the event, check out the WBDC Facebook page.

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Filed under Business, Business Start-up, Child Care, Marketing, Small Business, Special Events, Uncategorized, WBDC

14th Annual Child Care Business Expo: A Day of Celebration and Education!

This year the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) generated awareness and promoted the development of businesses during the 14th Annual Child Care Business Expo: Shining a Light on the Business Side of Child Care.

Throughout the day attendees were inspired, awarded and educated by speakers including Child Care Business Expo honorary chairs Illinois Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Child Care Business Expo chair Arabel Alva Rosales and child care financial expert Tom Copeland.

Take a look at the video below to see highlights from the June 2nd event.  For more pictures, please go to:

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Filed under Uncategorized, Established Business, Child Care, Special Events, WBDC News, Business, WBDC, Small Business, Tom Copeland

WBDC: 3 Most Important Rules to Reduce Your Taxes

Tom Copeland, nationally recognized expert on the business side of child care, discusses the 3 most important rules to reduce taxes for your child care business in the video below. The WBDC is excited to welcome Tom as the Keynote Speaker at the 14th Annual Child Care Business Expo on June 2, 2012 in Chicago, IL.   For more information about the Expo, please click here.

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Filed under Business, Child Care, Entrepreneur, Established Business, Finance, Tom Copeland, Uncategorized, WBDC, Women Business Owner

Notes on the International Council on Women’s Business Leadership inaugural meeting

Tuesday morning, January 24, 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted the inaugural meeting for the International Council on Women’s Business Leadership.  Members were invited by Secretary Clinton and include leaders of American and foreign public and private sector organizations.

For those that could not watch the live broadcasting, WBDC marketing assistant, Bethany Hartley has provided some notes from the meeting’s discussion.

First, what is the International Council on Women’s Business Leadership?

“The Secretary of State’s International Council on Women’s Business Leadership (ICWBL) serves the United States Government in a solely advisory capacity concerning major issues and problems in international business and economic policy, including the effective integration of business interests and women’s economic empowerment into overall foreign policy; the role and limits of international economic institutions from a gender-specific perspective; and the Department of State’s role in advancing and promoting the role of women in a competitive global economy.”

-from the Secretary of State website

Objective for the meeting:

“What are the ideas that we can promote that can help women be able to fulfill their own potential. How do we widen that circle of prosperity which will lift the entire global economy – women and men alike – and how do we, within our own organizations, do more to train and promote women to positions of leadership?”  Secretary Clinton

The meeting targeted issues currently impacting countries around the world.  Hot topics included:

  1. Child Care Options
    For Sweden’s Maud Olofsson one of the main problems hindering financial growth and business leadership for women is the lack of child care options available to women.  By sharing parenting duties between parents and allowing for child care to be more easily accessible and financially feasible, women would not be derailed from their career.  South Africa’s Wend Luhabe affirmed these challenges.
  2. Insurance Offerings for Women
    South Africa’s Wendy Luhabe also raised the issue of insurance offerings for women.  It is Luhabe’s belief that women are not covered nearly enough, stating examples of families being destroyed from having to repay medical bills when children fall sick and a need for further coverage for women when a divorce takes place.
  3. Building Wealth Through Sustainable Credit and Grassroots Programming
    India’s Meera Sanyal discussed how there is no overt gender discrimination in India, yet constantly changing policies for credit cause confusion.  There is a need for basic savings methods because if women keep the money in their home they will spend it on their family.Jamaica’s M. Audrey Hinchcliffe discussed her country’s problem being that of a small, wealthy few control the less fortunate larger population.  It’s a pyramid that needs to be altered by implementing programs to provide training and financial assistance to the large base and thus creating a more stable economic standing for the whole country.
  4. Innovative Program Models
    Wanda Engel, Executive President, Unibanco Institute, discussed Brazil’s Bolsa Familia program where funding is provided for families with children as long as children are attending school on a consistent basis.  Brazil has a high number of uneducated people which creates a poor economic situation.  With this program, children are becoming educated and potentially able to achieve a higher economic standing than their parents through professional work.  Many of the other countries representatives at the meeting expressed interest in adapting the Bolsa Familia program in their homelands.
  5. Women on Boards – About 3% of United States CEOs are women

“One fact is already clear, including more women at the top of organizations, businesses and the public sector- it’s not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.  It’s good for business, it’s good for results” –Secretary Clinton

Overall, the meeting was inspiring and thought provoking.  Essential topics were discussed including access to capital, women helping women and getting more business education out there to promote women in leadership roles.  These are all issues we look at every day at the WBDC and the reason we continue to provide the support we do for women.

What do you think?  Did you watch the meeting?  What would you ask the members?  Most importantly, do you think anything will come of this council?

Supplemental Links:

Cherie Booth Blair’s foundation: MWomen Initiative

Secretary Clinton’s September speech at APEC

List of Members: ICWBL Council Members

Introduction of Meeting: Secretary Clinton

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Filed under Business, Business Leaders, Child Care, Entrepreneur, Finance, SBA, Secretary of State, Small Business, Special Events, Uncategorized, WBDC, Women Business Owner, Women in Business

The Business Behind Child Care

The WBDC offers a Child Care Business Program (CCBP) unlike any other.  You already love children, now we can teach you the business side of child care.  You learn solid, tangible skills to build a foundation for a prosperous business, and all of the CCBP options are available in both English and Spanish.

How can the WBDC CCBP help you?

  1. Training: Between workshops, seminars and conferences we equip you with marketing, financial and other business skills.
  • If you’re just starting out, take 10 weeks to learn how to launch and sustain a successful home or center-based child care business. Sign up now for the next workshop series!
  • Workshops are also available for established business owners looking to understand the Business Administration Scale Program and other advanced business topics.

2. Counseling: Our professional team of business counselors provide free individual and group counseling

3. Networking Opportunities: Our Child Care Business Expo is an annual event providing a platform for all levels of child care providers to network with other child care providers, hear from industry professionals, including  Tom Copeland, and connect with suppliers to meet your purchasing needs.

Don’t miss these opportunities to grow your skills on the business side of child care. Take it from Allison Perkins, WBDC client and owner of Allison’s Infant and Toddler Center,

“It’s not what people think it will be.  As the administrator you make sure the children are able to have the experiences they need.  Make sure you’ve done your research and have a solid business plan.”

Read more about Allison’s story of successful business ownership here.  Whether you’re thinking about starting as a home-based business or leasing a space for your child care center, the CCBP provides you with information about all your options.

Tools for you:

  1. Child Care Business Plan Template
  2. Sample Revenue Assumptions
  3. Sample Start Up Budget

Want more information about the program or have questions about the CCBP?  Contact Janice at

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Filed under Business, Business Start-up, Child Care, Entrepreneur, Established Business, Finance, Marketing, Small Business, Uncategorized, WBDC, Women Business Owner

Making a Difference: Thoughts from a WBDC Intern

This past summer, the WBDC had a fabulous student intern, Carolina Diaz.  Carolina was a great addition to the WBDC staff team and has taken the time to share her experiences below.  Keep reading to learn more!

The WBDC and Me: Making a Difference

Five months ago, I began my internship with the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) where I had the opportunity to learn about women-owned businesses, something I didn’t know much about as a Fashion Marketing and Management student. My goal, coming into this internship, was to gain as much knowledge and experience about the business world. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I was excited to begin an internship with an organization whose goal is to help women business owners and who provides support from real world business professionals. Assisting the Child Care and Latina Programs I learned and practiced some of the WBDC’s most valuable goals.

I was fortunate to be under the guidance of Maria Lopez, director of the Latina Programs. I sat in counseling sessions, workshops and interviews where I learned some of the many issues facing small businesses in Illinois today.  Major issues include lack of resources in the western suburbs and lack of access to capital throughout the entire state. Seeing the dedication that the WBDC has to finding solutions for these businesses so that they can have a chance at succeeding is truly inspiring.

My involvement with outreach efforts and preparation for the Annual Child Care Business Expo was such a rewarding experience. With more than 500 attendees, child care providers obtained knowledge from a variety of workshops geared toward day care start-ups and established businesses. There was an incredible energy and excitement in the air with everyone from the major sponsors, to the child care business owners to the industry experts, it was contagious. Attendees received the opportunity to visit a floor full of resources to help them exchange ideas and network.  During the Expo, I had my first encounter with some of the child care business owners in Illinois, heard fascinating success stories and felt that even as an intern, my contribution made a difference.

I had the opportunity to visit a home day care center in Lake County with the manager of marketing to interview one of the WBDC’s most successful clients, Martina Rocha.  Martina’s tough challenges trying to lift up her home day care motivated her to create a child care association in Round Lake to provide the resources needed for child care providers in Lake County.  Martina taught me the importance of peer-to-peer business support, the importance of giving back to the community and the significant role that early childhood education plays for our children and communities.  She is an inspiration to all.

The WBDC is expanding the Child Care and Latina programs to the greater Chicagoland area to solve a problem many aspiring Illinois business owners outside of Chicago are facing, lack of resources.  I was presented with the task of providing extensive research from the 2010 Census regarding the population in Illinois. In my research I found that the majority of the Latino population is residing in the western suburbs of Chicago. In addition, more than 50% of the Illinois population resides in McHenry, Lake, Kane, DuPage, Cook and Will Counties, which all lie within the greater Chicagoland area.  In the endeavor to expand and reach our communities, the WBDC has already begun to act on this goal by providing workshops in Melrose Park and partnering with organizations within these counties to provide the resources they need.

The knowledge I’ve gained gave me the opportunity to present a marketing workshop to our Spanish speaking clients within the community of Little Village. This gave me first-hand experience as a consultant and business professional. It was a wonderful learning experience that I’ll take with me for the rest of my life and be able to apply to anything I do.

Working with Maria Lopez, the WBDC and its’ clients has been a wonderful experience.  Although my internship has now ended, I am happy to announce that I am now a WBDC staff member.  As the Client Database Analyst, I am fortunate to be a part of an amazing organization, and I look forward to contributing to the overall goal of the WBDC!

Carolina Diaz is Client Database Analyst at the WBDC.

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Filed under Child Care, WBDC News, Women Business Owner

12th Annual Child Care Business Expo

On Saturday, May 22 the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) presented the 12th Annual Child Care Business Expo at the Chicago Hilton and Towers.  The 2010 Child Care Business Expo offered child care entrepreneurs an energizing day of reflection and action for their businesses, providing access to creative solutions to today’s business issues and a much-needed network of resources and support.

The Expo is the only event of its kind in the nation–a unique one-stop clearinghouse for child care business solutions, resources, products, information and services for everyone from seasoned child care entrepreneurs to those just starting out.  The entire event is presented bilingually in Spanish and English.

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Filed under Business Start-up, Child Care, Established Business, Special Events