WomenVenture loan client, Yolanda Maxwell, is the owner of Little Steps Childcare Center in St. Paul
Little Steps Childcare Center is providing safe, secure, and nurturing care and age-appropriate curriculum to children in the South Como neighborhood of St. Paul. What started as an in-home childcare business has evolved into the thriving center that is now licensed to give care to 31 children, all of whom are taught by certified teachers.
According to Owner and Director, Yolanda Maxwell, it is her “purpose in life to teach and show love to every child.” After spending many years working at other big name daycare centers in the Twin Cities, Yolanda decided it was time to strike out on her own in order to provide flexible and affordable care for children in her community.
In 2015, Yolanda came to WomenVenture when she needed working capital to grow her business into a new space. At the same time, she was faced with unfortunate real estate legal issues that could have caused her to close her doors. WomenVenture swiftly provided Yolanda with a volunteer lawyer who helped her re-negotiate a contract with her landlord. “WomenVenture saved my life,” she says frankly. “We would have been evicted from our space.” After contract negotiations, Yolanda received a loan to cover both her space fees and the working capital she needed.
In addition, Yolanda worked with a WomenVenture business consultant to learn how to use QuickBooks to manage her financials. “I knew how to take care of children, but I didn’t understand the financial piece of running a business,” she admits. “WomenVenture helped me create a budget.”
Nowadays, business has been booming for Little Steps. Since opening their doors in February of 2016 with 2 children, they now serve 27 children, employ three full-time staff members, and have a waiting list for their baby room. Reflecting back, Yolanda credits a large part of her success to WomenVenture: “There were a lot of obstacles. WomenVenture saw the potential in me and my business,” she says. “I am very grateful for everything that they have done on my behalf and I recommend them every chance I get.”