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March 27, 2023

CEI Announces Grant to Expand Child Care Business Lab

Lumina Foundation awards CEI $1.6 million

For release March 27, 2023

[March 27, 2023] – Brunswick, MaineCoastal Enterprises, Inc (CEI), has announced a $600,000 grant with a $1 million program-related investment (a revolving loan fund) to help expand its Child Care Business Lab, which provides training and an opportunity to access capital to start childcare enterprises in Maine.

The funding from Lumina Foundation and Lumina Impact Ventures will also help CEI develop a model for peers nationwide.

The idea for the CEI Child Care Business Lab emerged from a pre-pandemic listening tour of rural Maine. Residents reported a lack of quality childcare was affecting their ability to work full-time, secure a decent livelihood and support their families. In response, CEI created the Child Care Business Lab in 2020, which combines small business start-up education with childcare management instruction and coaching through the licensing process. To date, 16 Mainers have opened financially sustainable childcare businesses serving more than 330 children and enabling 69 parents to start fulltime jobs.

CEI’s Child Care Business Lab  aligns with Lumina’s commitment to helping the nation redesign learning after high school to help more adults earn the degrees, certificates, and industry certifications necessary to boost economic success among working-age adults. Lumina’s approach complements elements of the CEI Child Care Business Lab, which targets rural, underinvested communities, and opens access to programs that lead to meaningful credentials. The grant and PRI investment will also ensure that new childcare entrepreneurs have financial and non-financial support along the way to ensure their success.

“The lack of access to quality child care is a chronic problem across the country. We are excited to support CEI’s Child Care Business Lab,” said Chauncy Lennon, vice president of Learning and Work at Lumina. “The  curriculum is a ready-made and replicable model that can work in other places. The skills the Child Care Business Lab provides lead to good jobs, higher pay, and greater opportunity to learn and serve others.”

The funding will support the expansion of the Child Care Business Lab across Maine and creating a plan to share the curriculum with other organizations nationally who have expressed interest in adapting the program to their communities, with the goal of organizations providing Child Care Business Lab cohorts nationwide. Additionally, the funds will provide low-cost capital to lend to child care business owners seeking to start their enterprises, which is traditionally difficult to access due to the industry’s non-traditional collateral, tight margins, and delayed income from reimbursements for subsidized programs.

“We are grateful to Lumina for these funds. They will help us leverage our understanding of the local business landscape and our community connections to help under-resourced entrepreneurial people bring their ideas to life – creating good jobs and increasing personal financial agency along the way.”

Betsy Biemann, CEI CEO.

About CEI

Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) works to build a just, vibrant and climate-resilient future for people and communities in Maine and rural regions by integrating finance, business expertise and policy solutions in ways that make the economy work more equitably. During its 46-year history, CEI has advised and/or provided over $23 million in financing for 203 child care business owners, helping to create 7,201 child care slots. More at

About Lumina

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. We envision a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. Our goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.

About LIV

Lumina Impact Ventures (LIV) is Lumina Foundation’s impact investing strategy for advancing racial equity and making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Through LIV, we seek to accelerate the effort to create a better-educated country by utilizing a range of investment tools to invest in social enterprises aligned with our mission.

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