A New World of Learning Bilingual Academy
SBDC connections help bilingual academy grow
Received $43,000 in grants: Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan for $10,000; Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) grant totaling $10,000; and Department of Education CARES Aid totaling $23,000.
Sandra Eduardo and daughter Ebony Vargas possess the qualifications and experience to operate an early childhood education center. They lacked a business plan that would allow expansion and growth. When Hampton Roads SBDC Advisor Bill Holloran joined the mother-daughter duo, a plan for growth took shape.
“My mother was an educator for 25 years and wanted to share her Hispanic culture and native tongue,” Ebony says, remembering A New World of Learning Bilingual Academy’s launch in January 2018. “I was in college and wanted to learn about being a business owner. During an SBDC-sponsored course for child care facilities, Bill was assigned to be our mentor.”
When the pandemic arrived in 2020, that educational course, as well as plans for expansion, were put on hold.
“When things opened up again, Bill reached out,” Ebony explains. “He was a phenomenal mentor and immediately helped us apply for relief grant funding.”
Those connections resulted in grants through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) totaling $10,000; Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) for Hampton Roads totaling $10,000; and four rounds of Department of Education Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES act) totaling $23,000.
Bill also helped Sandra and Ebony make practical connections.
“Bill connected us to a science firm that provided us with a laser jet printer with a lifetime guarantee,” Ebony continues. “He also suggested a USDA subsidy that reimbursed food purchased for the school.”
Today the Learning Academy’s most pressing issue is expansion. The school is thriving, and a larger facility has become a necessity. The SBDC’s projections helped set an expansion plan in motion, and Ebony and Sandra’s partnership with the SBDC has grown alongside their business.
“We have three waiting lists,” Ebony notes. “Our current location accommodates 30 preschoolers with six older children before and after school. Bill showed us the fundamentals of business growth. Currently, we’re working with a loan officer to find a property we can own.”
With the SBDC on their side, Sandra and Ebony are confident of success.
“This process would have been five times harder without the SBDC connecting us to all these resources,” Ebony says.
“The SBDC is always looking out for us,” Sandra adds. “Support is very important, and the SBDC supports us 100 percent!”