BRUNSWICK — Coastal Enterprises is offering three concurrent virtual courses of its Child Care Business Lab, helping entrepreneurs start new, quality child care businesses in underserved areas of Maine. Applications are due at 5 p.m. Jan. 29.

The Child Care Business Lab is an intensive cohort-based program that gives entrepreneurs the tools to start a successful small business, helps them refine their child care/early childhood education philosophy and guides them through the licensing process. Designed as an experiential leadership opportunity, the Child Care Business Lab will provide participants with a blueprint for a high-quality, financially viable nonprofit, for-profit, co-op or shared model child care business.

The six-month program, which begins in March, consists of 10 two-and-a-half hour workshops conducted live via Zoom, 25 hours of on-demand online learning sessions, biweekly one-on-one meetings with a business adviser and personalized coaching sessions with a child care mentor.

Two of the 2021 cohorts will focus on child care businesses in Maine’s rim counties, Washington, Aroostook, Piscataquis, Penobscot, Somerset, Franklin and Oxford, while a third cohort will focus on child care businesses for nonnative English families in the Tree Streets Neighborhood in downtown Lewiston, which faces unique challenges around child care, including securing appropriate facilities. The rim counties cohorts are made possible with funding from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Bill and Joan Alfond Foundation. The Lewiston cohort was made possible with funding from the John T. Gorman Foundation and aims to expand the number of slots for child care in the Tree Streets Neighborhood by 50 in 2021.

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