GrowSmart supports the early education businesses and professionals, which are largely female-owned small businesses. In 2010, GrowSmart collaborated with the Small Business Development Center and created an innovative business class for early care and education professionals. This award‐winning program was developed by business consultant and early education industry expert Lauren Small. The SBDC Early Education Business Program is similar to a mini MBA program and consists of three major components:
One on One Mentoring – Directors and owners meet with an SBDC Business Counselor to develop and work toward achieving business goals, streamline operations and implement industry best practice.
Industry-Specific Training – Participants in the program attend a business management course specifically developed for early education child care providers. Participants improve their level of understanding of complex business and management processes in the key operational areas of accounting, marketing, human resources management and leadership.
Essential Business Services – A key element of this program’s success is the provision of services such as website and logo design, signage, accounting software, and budget preparation. These critical, yet often overlooked, aspects of a business have a direct impact, both on the profitability of the business, as well as both the actual and perceived quality of the operation.
The Early Education Business Program provides early education businesses the knowledge, understanding and tools they need to operate a sustainable and profitable small business. The success of the year-long course is attributed to providing a combination of industry-specific small business management training as well as the intensive one‐on‐one mentoring.