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Diana’s Daycare: Working With Area Resources To Achieve The Small Business Dream

DianaDaycareDaycare is in high demand in Chicago these days. With limited options for working parents, there is a great need for affordable childcare within the city. Diana Anderson is one of the many small business owners trying to fulfill that need. Living her life-long dream of running her own daycare business, Diana has recently expanded the her business.

Diana is originally from Ghana and started a daycare in Chicago in 1994 out of her home. She wanted very much to expand into a separate daycare center, but didn’t have the financial means to do so. About two years ago, she decided to enroll in courses with the Edgewater Development Corporation that taught participants about starting and running a small business. She had also been using BMO Harris from the beginning and had a long standing relationship with the bank. She took part in BMO Harris’ business seminars that are run several times a year at different locations in the community. These events are open to area residents and are intended to educate businesses.

As with most small business owners, Diana was not sure how to acquire the financial capital she needed grow her daycare.  She would need a loan to acquire a new leased space, equipment, leasehold improvements, and a small credit line for start-up working capital. She would also need permits, licenses from the city, and guidance along the way. The BMO Harris Small Business Banking Officer that worked with Diana, Izabela Sadowska told us “The formal requirements took about a year and only then were we able to secure her a loan.” Underwriting for businesses can be exhaustive as rules and restrictions have become more strict over the years. Diana qualified for TIF funds and was able to secure $50,000 to help with the start-up funds for her business. 

Diana held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of Diana’s Day Care at 5961 N Clark. Revenue is growing, she has gone from 1 employee to 6, and now has capacity for 22 children, doubling the size of the business from before. Diana told us, “I didn’t have a grounded background in business and I knew I could run the daycare better outside of the home. All the parents were very satisfied with my business, but the business classes made it clear to me, that I would be able to grow if I could just follow the rules.” The most challenging part thus far, has been getting the toddlers. She has so many infants in the program. She currently has 6 toddlers, and can still take several more. Lucky for her, one of her loans is already paid off.


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