Brunswick-based Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI) is launching a program to support new child care businesses in rural Maine.
CEI’S Cynthia Murphy says that in recent months, she has visited parts of rural Maine, including Washington County, where access to child care has diminished as businesses have closed.
Murphy says the five-year program, funded through a federal grant, is intended to offer business advice, mentoring, and coaching for new child care in the months before they launch.
"We're trying to take out as many of the stress points that we've been hearing, as I've been on my listening tours, and build those into the child care business lab."
And she says it will offer a revolving loan program to participants, who may have to modify their homes or buy equipment.
“They may not have the collateral or the credit score, and so having this loan fund, we feel, will help people do something they might not otherwise have been able to do.”
The program is accepting applications, and its first cohort will begin in February. Murphy says she hopes it will help create up to 550 new child care slots in seven rural Maine counties.
Originally published 3:45 p.m. Jan. 10, 2020