Child Care Business Lab: Program Overview


To help entrepreneurs plan, open and operate a new child care service, the Child Care Business Lab integrates small business start-up education with guidance on how to deliver high-quality child care programming, advice on hiring and coaching through the licensing process.

This free six-month program consists of live workshops (conducted in person or via Zoom), on-demand online learning sessions, bi-weekly one-on-one meetings with a business advisor, personalized coaching sessions with a child care mentor and access to funding sources. (Workshops for non-native English speakers may be available and are more frequent.) At the end of six months, you will be ready to open your doors!

Learn with (and from) Your Peers

Entrepreneurs starting a business in rural parts of Maine often say they feel isolated, which is why the Child Care Business Lab consists of groups or cohorts of ten to fifteen individuals learning how to start a child care service together. The members of the cohort will have similar goals and aspirations and may also share the same concerns or challenges. By joining the Child Care Business Lab, you will be part of an interactive, engaging community – establishing relationships that may last for decades.

Business Education

Formal business start-up education is the cornerstone of the Child Care Business Lab. You will learn how to develop a financial plan, build a pricing model, access funding, create a marketing plan and hire a great team. In addition, you will work individually with a business advisor to develop and execute plans that work for you and your community.

Child Care Know How

Experienced child care professionals will impart the knowledge and skills necessary to start and run a high-quality child care business, including developing curriculum; encouraging social and emotional development; and establishing relationships with families.  All coursework required for licensing is included. You will be also paired with a Maine Roads to Quality District Coordinator—a child care professional who will provide impartial advice, assist with problem solving and offer encouragement.

Access to Start-Up Funding

Participants in the Child Care Business Lab will be eligible to apply for special start-up child care business loans to build or renovate space, buy education supplies or equipment, and to cover initial expenses. In advance of applying for a loan, each participant will work individually and confidentially with a certified financial wellness counselor who will help you review your credit report, offer advice on how to improve a credit score, create a budget and recommend ways to reduce debt.


Or for information about future cohorts, please share your email address below. 

Childcare Application Interest

Our offices are closed to the public, but we are hard at work. Get in touch today!
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