Marin SBDCSan Rafael, CA

“Working with the Marin SBDC is the best business decision I made. I would have paid thousands of dollars to get this support but it was all free. This allowed me to successfully start my preschool on a shoe-string budget. With the support of the Marin SBDC, I was able to create solid systems to effectively track and manage my finances and grow my staff with new hires. In only 2.5 months after opening my doors, I was able to pay my expenses and bring on my first helper. I’m so grateful for all the guidance and assistance from the SBDC.”

Patricia Van Der Beek

Originally from Brazil, Patricia Van Der Beek, came to the US to make her childhood dream of starting a preschool a reality. She worked three jobs to put herself through a Master's program in early childhood education then she won a scholarship that allowed her to complete a business management certificate at UC Berkeley. In 2015, with the help of the Marin SBDC she was able to open CreArt Preschool which offers year-round childcare and educational opportunities for children 0 to 5 years of age.

Though Patricia found a suitable space, she approached the Marin SBDC because she had limited resources. She needed help obtaining the proper licenses and permits, creating financial projections, setting up a budget and expense tracker, and developing her business plan.

Patricia is resourceful, and the Marin SBDC provided assistance and encouragement so she could quickly open. She even took wood-working classes so she could build or refurbish used furniture. The SBDC provided support when she negotiated trades for supplies. Business advisors helped her develop her business plan and strategy, create a financial tracking and system, and acquire permits and licenses. After a year, Patricia again reached out. Business advisors helped her create HR systems and new budget projections.

The Marin SBDC gave Patricia as much help as she wanted, and within two-and-a-half months of opening CreArt Preschool was fiscally stable with two employees. With additional assistance, the preschool has expanded into a bigger space, has a waiting list for its classes and currently has three employees. In 2018, Patricia won the Center Director of the Year award from the Marin Child Care Council and CreArt received grants from Whole Foods and the Marin Child Care Council for health and wellness projects and to build and outdoor space for the outside education program.

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.