A new program by the state of Michigan intendeds to assist people who are looking to start child care businesses by helping them speed up the license process, connect them with grants and more.
Governor Whitmer announced the new Our Strong Start program on Tuesday. Whitmer’s office said in a press release that the program seeks to make it easier for entrepreneurs to open new child care programs, get licensed faster and expand access to high-quality, affordable child care for working families.
Child care entrepreneurs can contact the program at Michigan.gov/MIchildcare for assistance at any stage in the business development process, including before they’ve secured a facility or applied for a child care license.
The Our Strong Start navigators will counsel potential business owners, help them understand and quickly navigate the licensing process, assist them in creating a business plan and connect them with grant funds to open their child care business, Whitmer’s office said.
The Our Strong Start navigators are also available to assist current business owners interested in expanding their child care programs.
In addition to working one-on-one with entrepreneurs, the Our Strong Start team will host in-person and virtual events to promote the child care industry and encourage individuals to consider a career in child care.
The first virtual event, “How to Open a Successful Child Care Business in Michigan,” will be at 12 p.m. on September 15. Anyone considering a career in child care can register at www.michigan.gov/MIchildcare.
The Our Strong Start, the latest step in the governor’s Caring for MI Future strategy, will be run by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ (LARA) Child Care Licensing Bureau and help entrepreneurs get licensed and secure grant funding to launch their business.
The program is part of a $1.4 billion investment to expand access to child care for families, touted by the Whitmer administration.
To date, the governor has awarded more than $700 million in grants — a record amount — to nearly 6,000 child care businesses, provided bonuses up to $1,000 for 38,000 child care professionals and launched Caring for Mi Future, a $100 million strategy to open 1,000 new child care programs by the end of 2024.
“The Our Strong Start will reduce barriers to licensure that entrepreneurs have encountered while trying to navigate through multiple state programs,” said LARA Director Orlene Hawks. “By making the licensing process easier and more efficient, we are demonstrating our commitment to working with individuals who are stepping up to create safe and reliable child care options for families.”