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EO announces winners of Childcare Business Challenge

May 02, 2024

Abingdon, VA (May 2, 2024) – EO announced three winners of its Childcare Business Challenge, who combined, received $30,000 to implement newly designed business plans.

Discovery Daycare Inc. in Lebanon, Grace Christian Academy in Atkins, and Itty Bitties Academy in Glade Spring had the winning business plans. All three included a long-term strategy to expand available childcare slots in addition to specialized services such as speech therapy, after school programs, and camps.

The Childcare Business Challenge was designed by EO as a kick-off for its Shared Services Alliance, a program aimed at strengthening its network of over 200 existing childcare providers in Southwest Virginia.

Participants in EO’s Childcare Business Challenge received expert coaching, training, and resources to create business plans that expand services, strengthen operations, or even launch a new childcare business. The training culminated with participants submitting business plans for the opportunity to win additional funding.

“We know that childcare providers are a critical piece of our economic ecosystem,” explained Travis Staton, CEO and President of EO. “Without childcare, families in our region cannot get to work, businesses cannot run at their full potential, and our local economy suffers.”

Data shows that many employers in our area struggle to hire and retain staff because of childcare issues. In a recent Childcare Landscape report, EO reports that almost half of surveyed businesses experienced challenges hiring and retaining staff due to a lack of childcare access.

“EO is investing in these childcare and education providers because we know this is key for a healthy economy”, explained Lindsey Holderfield, Director of Employer Services at EO. “The Shared Services Alliance alleviates childcare and educator burnout, helps businesses cut overhead expense so they can attract and retain talent, and enables business owners to focus more on the children and families they serve.”

The Shared Services Alliance is made possible because of philanthropic support from the Wellspring Foundation of Southwest Virginia and the Anne and Gene Worrel Foundation. The Childcare Business Challenge winners received awards from EO and People Incorporated to implement their business plans.

To learn more about the Shared Services Alliance, click here.

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