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Women’s Business Center Empowers Entrepreneurs

NONPROFITS: New SDF Report Addresses Local Childcare Challenges

With many parts of the San Diego region considered so-called “childcare deserts,” gaining access to affordable childcare continues to be a challenge for working San Diego parents.

The San Diego & Imperial Women’s Business Center (WBC) hopes to change that. The WBC, located on the campus of Southwestern College in National City, was created to assist and empower women entrepreneurs by providing mentorship, strategic business advising and trainings to help their businesses prosper as well as stimulate economic growth for their regions. The Center offers free, one-on-one business counseling.

San Diego Foundation’s (SDF) recently published ‘Workforce, Childcare and Change Report’ lists San Diego as the 13th most expensive city in the nation. That high cost of living translates into about 190,000 children under age 12 being without parents at homes that lack access to quality childcare. The cost, for many, just isn’t feasible, according to the SDF report, which aims to provide a regionalized picture of the current perspectives of working parents, capacity of the childcare provider industry and the role that access to quality, affordable care plays in ensuring parents can remain engaged in the workforce.

Research shows the cost of childcare is more than $19,000 per year for one infant in a licensed childcare center. For a typical family of four, for example, that can consume 40% of their budget.

Women are disproportionately affected by this issue. Too often, mothers are left with the decision to leave the workforce and care for their child at home to save money. It’s no different in San Diego, which has the second-lowest female participation in the workforce nationwide.

Program Aids Low-Income Women of Color

As part of the SDF Early Childhood Initiatives grants, the San Diego & Imperial Women’s Business Center received funds to support an 8-week program that helps low-income, women of color launch their own in-home family childcare business. Those women also receive a child development certificate from Southwestern College.

Katty Ibarra
Director
San Diego & Imperial Women’s Business Center

“Thanks to the grants we received, we’re able to help women entrepreneurs with training and business counseling at no cost for them,” Katty Ibarra, director of the San Diego & Imperial Women’s Business Center, said in a recent interview.

The program empowers women and teaches them how to be entrepreneurs, provides insight to marketing their business and money management, as well as the health and safety requirements needed to run a successful small childcare business.

“The Women’s Business Center is doing really critical work to support the backbone of our early care and education workforce,” said

Katie Rast
Director of Community Impact
San Diego Foundation

, SDF Director, Community Impact. “They’re supporting the women, primarily, who make so much of the childcare we rely on possible.”

Access to Capital, Education

Rast said those resources include access to capital, access to education and other support that make it easier for them to run their business successfully. For many families, that support can be both rewarding and life changing.

“One of the best success stories ever is one of our family childcare providers,” said Ibarra. “She has a special needs kid and she wanted to start her business, but she couldn’t afford childcare. So, we helped her start her own business, so that way at the same time she’s taking care of her kid – she’s supporting her family. It’s a win-win for the community.”

To learn more about childcare and its impacts on the workforce in San Diego from the SDF Workforce, Childcare + Change Report, visit https://workforce.sdfoundation.org/

San Diego Foundation

FOUNDED: 1975
CEO: Mark Stuart
EMPLOYEES: 84
HEADQUARTERS: Liberty Station
REVENUE: $164 million (FY 2022)
BUSINESS: Community-oriented nonprofit
WEBSITE: sdfoundation.org
NOTABLE: SDF has granted $1.4 billion to nonprofits since 1975.

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