CHICAGO, IL, June 19, 2014 – More than 450 prospective and established child care business owners attended the 16th Annual Early Childhood Education Entrepreneurship Expo on Saturday, June 14, at the UIC Forum in Chicago to learn and network with industry experts and each other.

 Themed “Your GPS to Business Success,” and presented in English and Spanish, the Expo provided attendees from both home and center-based locations with business solutions, resources, products, information and services, all delivered in one location on a single day.

 Expo highlights included the Destination Success! Breakfast, with a panel of child care industry experts featuring Monique Draper, Illinois Action for Children; Janice Lopez, WBDC; Christine Nicpon, Latino Policy Forum; Mark Obuchowski, INCCRRA; Kate Ritter, Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Education; and Lindsay Alvis Cochrane, Robert R. McCormick Foundation; Road Map to Growth Business Workshops for every level of business featuring experts and experienced child care providers; Early Childhood Education Applause Awards Luncheon (with winners including Lourdes Anlly Jasso, New Beginnings Child Care and Educational Program, Inc., in Brighton Park, Hedy M. Ratner and S. Carol Dougal Legacy Award; Janet Marx, owner with Shirley Marx of New World Van Lines, Friend of Child Care Award; Josephine Garrett, Learning for a Lifetime Childcare Center in Chicago’s South Loop, Fast Track Award; and Shanetha Pollnitz, Tiny Tots Tabernacle Childcare in Bellwood, Unsung Hero Award. Presenting the awards were Expo Co-Chair Patty Greene, manager, community affairs and grassroots, Southwest Airlines, and Emilia DiMenco, president and CEO of the WBDC); honoring outstanding child care providers and activists in the child care community; and the 16th Annual Reception celebrating 16 years of supporting, building and growing successful child care businesses.

 An Exhibition Hall of more than 60 booths featured insurance vendors, bankers, child care associations, state regulatory agencies for the industry, educational products, business resources and curriculum vendors.

 The WBDC’s Early Childhood Education Entrepreneurship Program, with workshops offered year-round, is designed to provide a full range of business services to prospective and existing child care entrepreneurs for home and center-based child care businesses. All programs and services are offered in English and Spanish. For further information, visit or call (312) 853-3477. 

Dawn Ferencak

Dawn Ferencak likes to go behind the scenes when connecting with her customers to create ways to help make their businesses grow beyond their expectations. What she didn't expect, when she started working...