Roxbury Early Education and Care Small Business Innovation Center

Early Education and Care Small Business Innovation Center: on Cognoscenti!

Thanks to Mayor Martin Walsh for co-authoring this Cognoscenti op-ed with our CEO, Marie St. Fleur – it brings awareness to the work we are doing in Greater Roxbury through the Early Education and Care Small Business Innovation Center (EECSBIC). Featured in the article (and at right) is Melissa Phillips, owner of Little Brown Bear Academy and EECSBIC “graduate”.

In 2014, we conducted an analysis of the early education and care sector in this community. Less than one year later, 40 of the 127 family child care businesses (31%) were no longer licensed by the Department of Early Education and Care, implying either that their licenses lapsed / expired or that they went out of business. Four of the 27 center-based businesses closed their doors in the same time period. This high turnover of early education opportunities is especially problematic in a neighborhood where many families are low-income and depend on care in order to work. Marie St. Fleur notes in the article:

“These are strong, caring women who do a profound service to children and families in the neighborhood. We know many more examples of this commitment are found throughout all of our neighborhoods. Though they are “small” businesses, they have the power to change the lives of thousands of young children in their communities. They ensure that our children are healthy and ready to enter kindergarten and get on the ladder to success.”

With assistance from our partners at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Tech Goes Home, Google, and the City of Boston, we are working to increase the vitality of this crucial business sector as well as the quality of early education available to young children in Greater Roxbury / Dudley. We believe that better-functioning business practices will decrease pressure on center owners, allowing them more availability to nurture the young children in their care.

Listen below for a clip from WBUR on the importance of small business, specifically minority- and women-owned small business, for the community at large.

Early Education and Care Small Business Innovation Center: Now Recruiting!

We are pleased to announce that the Early Education and Care Small Business Innovation Center (EECSBIC) is now recruiting its second cohort of providers!


It is a program to help early education and care business owners learn how to better manage their operations.


Over the course of ten Saturday morning sessions, trainers will share hands-on lessons in technology, marketing, and financial management. In addition, individual coaches will be available to help providers make the most of their new skills. Each participant also has the option to purchase a discounted Google Chromebook to use during class and to keep once the program has completed, thanks to assistance from Tech Goes Home and Google.


Early education and care business owners in the Greater Roxbury / Dudley area are encouraged to message our Senior Researcher, Kira Taj. We look forward to hearing from you!

To learn more about the EECSBIC, visit our website or watch this video:

Early Education and Care Small Business Center: Now Enrolling!


BTWIC is currently accepting applicants to enroll in our Early Education and Care Small Business Innovation Center (SBIC). Located at Madison Park High School in Dudley Square, the SBIC is a partnership between BTWIC, Tech Goes Home, UMass Boston, and the City of Boston.

Trainers will work with local providers in greater Roxbury to increase the success of their early childhood education and care businesses by increasing enrollment, reducing employee turnover, and reducing the workload on directors.

The SBIC will provide six months of mentoring and training opportunities for a group of up to 30 early education and care business owners. Weekly Saturday classes will start on October 24, 2015, covering such topics as:

Accreditation Support
Accounting / Finances
Human Resources

This coursework will be bolstered by one-on-one on-site mentoring, which will provide an opportunity for students to apply their new skills directly to their businesses. Participants will be given a Google Chromebook for use during the program. At the program’s conclusion, they will have the option to purchase the laptop for $50. Many thanks to Tech Goes Home for making this possible!

For more information, visit our website, email Kira Taj, or call the office at 617.425.0002.