All of the graduates are affiliated with the Fordham Bedford Community Services (FBCS) Daycare Network or nutritional support program (CACFP). The FBCS Early Learn Daycare Network helps low income families access safe, affordable, and reliable child care and provides professional development and support to the daycare providers. The home-based providers in the network provide educational enrichment and care for over 200 children and their families in our community. FBCS also runs a Child and Adult Care Food Program, (CACFP) a state funded food cost reimbursement and nutritional education program for child care providers in low income areas. Between the two programs, FBCS works with about 75 home-based childcare providers in the northwest Bronx.
The Program classes were held each Saturday at the Serviam Gardens theater, computer lab and conference room. Serviam Gardens was developed and is managed by Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation (FBHC) and offers homes and social services to 286 senior citizens. FBHC, the largest community sponsor of affordable housing in NYC, is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year and founded Fordham Bedford Community Services. Jim Buckley, Executive Director of UNHP, acknowledged the partnership and teamwork that contributed to the success of the program at the graduation. "When we sat down a year ago with FBHC and FBCS, we talked about the neighborhood's economic strengths and needs Those discussions and that teamwork led to the creation of a new economic growth program for our community." Thanks to the support of Citi, a specialized Fast Trac Growth Venture course was created by NYC Small Business Services for childcare providers and launched as the Northwest Bronx Childcare Entrepreneurship Program in January 2015.
Most of the graduates have been in business for more than 5 years and appreciated the opportunity to learn how to analyze their current business operations, identify growth opportunities, and create a plan to operate more efficiently and grow. The Northwest Bronx Childcare Entrepreneurship Program, was offered in both English and Spanish, provided free business management training and support to help underserved child care providers in Northwest Bronx.
The highlight of the evening was the speeches given by two accomplished graduates, Katiuska Morel and Regla Echevarria. Both women spoke about how the Entrepreneurship Program and especially their instructor, Ada Uribe, inspired them to think differently about their work and view themselves more strongly as businesswomen. The Northwest Bronx Childcare Entrepreneurship Program and graduation offered a sense of renewal to the hard-working childcare providers and the community groups that have worked to serve them and members of our northwest Bronx community through services, organizing and affordable housing development and preservation.
After graduation, participants receive group coaching, access to mentors and a network of other local entrepreneurs, and connections to additional services through NYC Business Solutions including business courses, financial assistance, pro-bono legal services, incentives, certification, and more.