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It takes a village

Child Care Incubator and Accelerator

Photo of Camilia
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Written by

Name or Organization

Hakili community sustainable development society


Our offices are located in Calgary, Canada but our programs are scalable and implementable in any part of the world.

What is your stage of development?

  • Early Stage Innovator, with at least one-year experience in ECD


  • Non - Profit

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Describe your submission in one clear sentence

Through the Child Care Incubator and Accelerator program, Hakili will to train, equip, launch and grow child care providers in isolated, low-income, rural and urban communities, increasing the availability of providers, eliminating child-care deserts.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)

Isolated, low-income, urban and rural communities often experience under-supply of child care options. This situation is often caused by the barriers and threats to market entry which include government policies, capital requirement among other. By providing training, educational and financial support as well as the mentorship needed to individuals desiring to provide child care services we will increase the number of child care providers, giving families more quality child care options in their neighborhoods, changing the landscape.

Select an Innovation Target

  • Service: A new or enhanced service that creates value for end beneficiaries.

Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)

The Child Care Incubator and Accelerator program is an innovation in the industry. Through this program, we will help our clients access capital to launch, grow or scale their business while enhancing their capacity to provide quality child care options to families. We will also provide them with business assistance, shared administrative services, guidance from an advisory board/mentor as well as marketing to help their business thrive. Working with local government regulatory agencies, we will established operating standards to ensure that our clients meet and/or exceed the requirements. At the end of incubation, clients will receive an accreditation seal warranting the quality of their services. We will ensure that remain compliant by conducting routine audits.

What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)

Parents in low-income urban and/or rural communities will have the assurance of the quality of care provided to their child given that the accreditation seal reflect current research and leading practices over and above licensing regulations. Child care professional will receive the training and support needed to launch and grow, quality and successful child-care center (similar to the head start child care center). With more child care option available we will eliminate child care deserts.

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

To increase accessibility and promotes excellence in child care settings for families living in isolated, low-income, urban and rural communities we propose the creation of a Child Care Incubator and Accelerator program. This program will be unique in the sense that it caters to the needs of early childhood providers. Business incubators are catalyst tools for either regional and/or national economic development. They provide startups in any industry the vital support needed to launch their business. These services includes but are not limited to access to investors, seed funding, training/mentoring, networking, marketing assistance and shared operational cost. These services enable startup and early stage companies to speed up their growth and success. Although similar in some aspect, business accelerators on the other hand target already established businesses seeking to expand their operations. They provide extra-support needed for these business to sort out all organizational, operational, and strategic difficulties they may face at this stage. As with any startup, entrepreneurs have to overcome barriers such as access to startup capital, technical knowledge, marketing and advertising services, materials, and compliance with government regulations. For entrants, these are often insurmountable: high startup costs, structural barriers to economies of scale, low profit margin, strict state and federal requirements, as well as high liability. Therefore an incubator and accelerator program will be indispensable to support and encourage new players entry. With funding from agencies such as the U.S. Economic Development Administration grants, angel investors and other organization, we will provide the capital need to this business. Continuing education is vital to ensure quality as best practices are regularly updated. Hence will work with national and local regulatory agencies to establish our own standards that meet or exceed requirements. Clients will be training and supported throughout to ensure that they remain compliant and proud themselves in the quality of the services they provide. We will recruit clients, individuals (18 years of age or older) interested in offering child care in their neighborhood, particularly home-based care (lower startup cost) from employment center and community colleges. After confirming eligibility, they will receive the necessary training to satisfy with the education requirements under the head start program, and will apply for a loan. This will enable them to receive additional training, materials and equipment, provide operating capital while remaining competitive. They will also have access to a business mentor who will guide them and provide them advice to launch and grow their business. By develop North American accreditation standards in accordance with Canadian and American child care standards we plan to establish as platform to deploy this program beyond the US. All accredited facilities including home-based child care, will be regularly screened and monitored through annual reviews and verification visits. All staff will undergo regular training to ensure that they meet the quality standards. All providers are considered privatized contractors, with the ability to set their own rates, hours, and choice of customers. Clients will enter into a contract with our agency and have access to a loan. Additionally we will provide accelerator services to this business to ensure their long-term success. These include mentorship, networking opportunities, accounting/financial management as well as marketing assistance. Revenues will be generated from the fees and interest uncured by the loans.

Who benefits? (1500 characters)

Children, parents, caregiver and the entire community at large will benefit from this idea. Children, because they will receive the quality care they need to thrive. Parents because they will have more quality options to choose from as well the peace of mind regarding the care they child receives. Caregivers because they are supported throughout the process, have access to the evidence-based resources to enrich their practice and financial support to expand their business. Communities at large because we will eliminate child care deserts, one state at a time, create jobs and attract families to these areas. I have worked for the past 4 years in the field as parent educator to high risk families first then as a researcher and now as a service provider to undeserved communities. This has enabled me to see first hand the struggles these families and their children face in their quest of quality child care; and of those wanting to get in the business with the lack of resources and support.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)

Half of Americans live in areas with an under-supply of child care options. In these child care deserts, with more than three children for every child care slot, parents often have to resort to either unlicensed child care arrangements, or make employment decisions. Our program will resolve this under-supply of quality child care options for parents by providing the training and support needed for those desiring to enter the industry. By 2023 we will eliminate child care desert in the US.

How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)

We target intentionally low-income children by offering the program in the community they live. These may be geographically, linguistically, socially or economically isolated, low-income urban or rural communities. These children will be cared for in high quality child care center giving their parents the peace of mind they need as well as the opportunity to not have to choose between quality care for their child and employment. This will undoubtedly lead to better outcomes for these children and their families. With both parents able to participate in the workforce, we hope to provide these children with the protective factors for future success.

Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (1500 characters)

The concept of incubator and accelerator program is not new, but it's application to the industry is novel. These programs have been key in developing the tech industry. For this reason we believe that developing this incubator and accelerator program for the child care industry will be key in developing quality services for families and sustain the industry.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)

This program is meant to be scaled to the entire country and beyond. We will target mainly, people living in low income, urban or rural communities, mostly childcare deserts. We will brand our idea through social media platforms, radio and tv ads, attend career fairs around the country and do presentation in colleges and universities across the country with the aim to enroll as many as possible people interested in offering childcare services in their community.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)

To implement this idea, we will need a proof of concept project. We started by identifying geographical area most in need of our services. We used the child care mapping tool developed by the Center for American progress. They define a child care desert as any census tract with more than 50 children under age 5 that contains either no child care providers or so few options that there are more than three times as many children as licensed child care slots. Based on their maps we were able to identify 2 states as having the highest percentage of people living in a child care desert: California with 62% and New York with 61%. In these states urban and suburban communities seem to be affected the most. We have consulted their resources for child care provider and are in the process of contacting their respective division in charge of child care services, as well as local agencies working in the field to present our idea implementation strategy. To insure the financial viability of our endeavor, we will pursue funding from local funders in the state of New york and California. We will also establish contact and develop financial partnerships with financial institutions who tend to lend to small business such as citifinancial, chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Us bank, Branch Banking & Trust, PNC Bank, Regions Bank, First-citizens Bank and JP Morgan Chase, for our client. The National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance is an US entity that supports state and community leaders in planning and implementation of rigorous approaches to quality in all early care and education settings for children from birth to school age. In a the first stages of implementing our idea, we aim to consult with them and develop, in partnership, procedures to ensure that our clients meet and exceed the basic training required, are well supported and have all the resources needed offer child care services of quality similar to head-start program. We will additionally seek local advisors and mentors, more experience child care provides, who will be willing to provide guidance to our clients. With all these resources we believe that we can successful complete a pilot project. This project will aim to add 10 quality child care providers in the state of New York and California in 6 months. Upon successful completion, we will work towards deploying this program to the entire country and beyond.

Business Viability: How viable is your business model? (1500 characters)

We believe that this business model will be viable given that incubators and accelerators are quite popular business model in our industry. Mitigate as much as possible the foreseen barriers, we will consult with a wide range of stakeholders, refining our strategies as we go.

HCD: How have you used human centered design to build or refine your concept? (1500 characters)

We have consulted with a few child care providers and parents about the issues and our ideas. To refine our approach we will conduct focus groups and discuss with diverse stakeholders on the type of support needed for early child care providers. We plan on using a Kaizen approach of continuous improvement along with the human centered design to ensure that we refining our ideas. We will do a kick off events and hold monthly and quarterly networking and engagement events. These events will be a space where all players can come together connect, learn from each other, gain valuable insights and visibility of their business. It will also enable us to keep an open ears to their needs and struggles to ensure that we are continue to serve them. We will strive to install an open door policy where our employees ad clients are free to voice their concerns thus creating a inclusive and supportive work and learning environment.

Tell us more about you (3000 characters)

Since I began working with children living in high-risk families 4 years ago, I have been passionate about children welfare. Through my professional experience, I have interacted with hundred of parents, children, educators, researchers, doctors, child care providers among others. This has enriched my own work, made me aware of the issues as well as the opportunities in the field. Hakili was born from this passion to ensure that each child fulfills his potential regardless of the circumstances he was born in. For this reason, this challenge is an opportunity for us as an organization to go further in our mission: to break the cycle of poverty in marginalized communities around the world. It all start with children and ensuring that they grow in enriched environments where they needs are met are they dreams are nurtured. It takes a village to raise a child; it takes an entire community dedicated to their need; a community that will act as a cocoon for the seed (talent and gift) in them to blossom. The idea we are proposing came from my experience working with families (in Canada) and realizing that many mothers had to make this hard choice of care for their child or food on the table because of the absence of safe child care options. Some of them made the choice of working ad often regretted it when they realized that their child was not properly cared for. As you might imagine, this problem is universal and that is why we have been nurturing this idea for a while. This prize will be a step further in our quest.

Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (500 characters)

At this time we don't have the manpower needed to accomplish what we have described. But to conduct a pilot project, we will need to cover key positions such as marketing and communications, partnerships and external relations and finance/administration. We will also need to consult with a lawyer on legal aspect of the business. We will need people who have experience working with the partnered agency.

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (1800 characters)

To successfully complete this project we will need in our team with child care providers, people who are familiar with the child care regulations in the state of New York and California, people who have experience working with government agencies as well as dealing with financial institutions.

Would you like mentoring support? [Relevant only for Early Submission Deadline]

  • Yes

If so, what type of mentoring support do you think you need? (1200 characters) [Relevant only for Early Submission Deadline]

Given that this is our first endeavor, we are seeking mentors who can help us navigate the child care regulatory environment and raise the funds needed. We will also need business mentors, people familiar with the ins and out of business incubators.

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?

  • Yes, share my contact information

[Optional] Biography: Upload your biography. Please include links to relevant information (portfolio, LinkedIn profile, organization website, etc).

Evidence-based practitioner, I devote my inquisitive and entrepreneurial spirit to address social issues affecting women and children. Relentless visionary and leader, I strive for excellence and innovation in pursuit of my research career while managing a successful business and non-profit organization. In my leisure time, I'm a singer-songwriter, amateur photograph, travel enthusiast, and volunteer for many causes in my community. Linkedin:


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Childcare is critical for families to work and support themselves and your work is needed more than ever.

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