When Boulder-based entrepreneur Elizabeth Szymanski became a mom in 2015, she discovered that high-quality childcare at a reasonable price was limited. She found that many centers had lengthy waitlists that would have required her to sign up before she got pregnant. Talking to other parents, she realized her situation was not unique, and started MyVillage with fellow mom entrepreneur Erica Mackey.
MyVillage is a business-in-a-box platform that helps people—mostly women—start in-home childcare businesses. By partnering with MyVillage, owners receive assistance starting and running their childcare business and a choice of seven early childhood curricula approved by an advisor affiliated with the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. MyVillage also pairs owners with a local mentor to work with for up to two years.
“So many women we speak to say they felt overwhelmed by the licensing requirements and regulations,” says Szymanski, “or [they] just feel intimidated by the financial parts of running their own business.” MyVillage provides help with state licensing, access to back-office technology, and helps owners participate in state subsidy programs so low-income families have access to their childcare.
None of this affects the owner’s bottom line. MyVillage’s childhood educators can earn 30 to 50 percent more than traditional childcare workers, which can translate to savings for their customers. The licensing and training process generally takes about three months for new providers who want to get started as quickly as possible.