Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center Receives Grants to Help Launch Childcare Entrepreneurs

Amanda Anthony, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center’s Program Director for San Mateo County and graduate of the Leadership CORPS Class of 2023

Thanks to the hard work of a cross-sector project team in the Leadership CORPS Class 2023, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center (RenCenter) received a grant to fund the expansion of child care resources in San Mateo County.

This project stemmed from the community impact portion of our 10-month Immersion Program during which small groups learn about issues in a particular San Mateo County Supervisor District and identify tangible solutions. While this team's focus was District 1, the outcome of their collaboration will affect all of San Mateo County.

The team began with a simple yet ambitious goal: “To expand the availability of childcare resources by increasing the number of qualified caregivers.” They did extensive research about the state of the industry, including the barriers to entry for childcare providers. 

The team read about the topic and attended meetings at San Mateo County education organizations. They examined the issue from multiple perspectives including the trainers of early childhood educators, those who support them in various ways, and the childcare providers themselves. They synthesized what they learned, developed a set of actionable solutions to address workforce development and retention challenges, and met with Supervisor Dave Pine.

Key takeaways surfaced from their project: Childcare is an important function in San Mateo County yet there is both a critical workforce shortage and a childcare facility shortage in the County.

The team learned that Supervisor Pine was sponsoring a proposal asking the Board of Supervisors to approve a Child Care Navigator position within the County Office of Education charged with recruiting and promoting retention of early care and education providers. Supervisor Pine’s “Early Childhood Education Career Pathways Pilot Project” was an initiative with many overlaps to the work of this CORPS team. Since it aligned with the goals of their project, the team pivoted and used the knowledge they had gained to support it. 

Additionally, in March 2023, when Supervisor Noelia Corzo released the grant application for her Measure K funds, team member Amanda Anthony, RenCenter’s Program Director for San Mateo County, applied for and received grants to support the launch of up to 30 small family child care businesses to support family childcare. RenCenter received $70,000 in Measure K funding and another $50,000 in funding from Silicon Valley Community Foundation with a focus on infant and toddler care, for implementation in 2023-2024. 

One of RenCenter’s training offerings for aspiring entrepreneurs is “The Business of Childcare.” While Amanda had some experience with this program, it was the collaboration of this CORPS team that inspired her to apply for the Measure K grant to develop more childcare entrepreneurs. 

“I was not initially focused on the need for grants when I started working on this research team with my CORPS class,” she said. “But we did so many interviews and collected valuable data that RenCenter then leveraged into the grant application.”

While RenCenter's new micro-grant initiative has only just begun, its impact will benefit young children and families for decades to come. It arose from collaboration, trust, and action of a small group of leaders in the Leadership CORPS Class of 2023! Congratulations team!!