WORTHINGTON, Minn. — Angela Smith recently opened Tee-Riffic Kids child care in Worthington with help from Southwest Initiative Foundation’s (SWIF) Bright Beginnings loan program. Tee-Riffic Kids is a family-based child care licensed for up to 10 children, from infants to school age kids.
Smith and her husband, Joe, welcomed their daughter Chloe earlier this year. The excitement of expecting their first child was dampened by a struggle to find child care.
“We searched for an opening for Chloe, but it was a two-year wait for a spot. I decided to leave my full-time job and start a child care business to help not only us but also other families in the Worthington area. Caring for kids is always something I’ve enjoyed,” said Smith, who grew up in Lakefield and graduated from Jackson County Central High School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business from South Dakota State University as well as certification in first aid and infant CPR.
Child care is in high demand in southwest Minnesota, with an estimated 3,000 kids who lack access to quality, affordable care according to a report by the Center for Rural Policy and Development. Bright Beginnings provides capital and business education to home or center-based licensed child care providers in the region. Loans up to $15,000 are available for a multitude of things including licensing, curriculum, playground equipment, educational toys and materials, repairs, upgrades, start-up or expansion expenses and more. Smith used her loan for equipment, renovations and working capital.
“Angela has a strong work ethic and a passion for kids and customer service. I’m thrilled that we can support her with a Bright Beginnings loan that helps create more quality child care options in Worthington,” said SWIF Economic Development Officer Jackie Turner.
Loan programs have been a key function of SWIF since its inception to support communities and businesses throughout southwest Minnesota. In 2001, microlending was added to existing programs as a tool to support small businesses and people looking for self-employment opportunities.
Microloan clients receive free technical assistance from SWIF staff to improve their business management skills. Areas of support include business planning and financials analysis, QuickBooks training, marketing assistance and other training opportunities for the life of the loan.
This microloan program receives funding assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, contact SWIF at 800-594-9480, 320-587-4848 or [email protected].
About Southwest Initiative Foundation
Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) is a nonprofit community foundation connecting people, investing in ideas and building communities to create a southwest Minnesota where all people thrive. Since its founding in 1986, SWIF has distributed more than $82 million through its grantmaking and business finance programs. Learn more at swifoundation.org.
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