Chalkbeat’s review of new approaches to the home-based child care business includes an in-depth look at MyVillage. The article includes an overview of our approach to helping educators start and scale their businesses efficiently.
This article was originally published in Chalkbeat.
One summer morning, Yemi Habte sat at the kitchen table in her suburban Aurora home poring over a 10-page packet of child care forms with her mentor Steph Olson, a veteran child care provider who lives nearby.
Soon, Habte would open her own home-based child care business, Shining Little Lights, and Olson had come over to answer her questions. Habte wondered what to do if parents didn’t want to list their employers on the form? Or wanted their children to have only organic food? The pair also talked through emergency contacts, sunscreen procedures, and field trips.
The friendly kitchen table meeting, punctuated by cups of rich Ethiopian coffee and a snack of crisp roasted barley, didn’t happen by chance. It was the work of a new Colorado-based company called MyVillage.
Join The Home-Based Child Care Economy
The idea is to make opening and running a high-quality home-based child care business easier and more lucrative. That means guiding providers like Habte through the complicated start-up process, helping them fill open spots, and simplifying back-office tasks such as billing and record-keeping.
Think buying supplies or insurance in bulk at a discount, streamlining the state child care subsidy process, or using a common pool of substitute teachers, mentors or coaches. While many of the groups offer similar services, some emphasize technology solutions, others focus on hands-on help, and still others offer a combination of the two.
The Origins of MyVillage Home-Based Child Care
Two mothers, Erica Mackey and Elizabeth Szymanski, founded MyVillage in 2017 after struggling to find childcare themselves.
The pair met while working on business degrees at Oxford University and both have backgrounds in entrepreneurship. Mackey, who lives in Montana, co-founded a solar energy company that provides affordable electricity to households in Africa. Szymanski, who lives near Boulder, co-founded a company that allows companies to establish the value of their shares and helped build a plastics recycling company in Tanzania.
“I don’t have an early childhood background. I’m a business-builder,” Szymanski said. “But I’m a mom with two kids.”