Hyper Youth Programs and Educational Resources (HYPER) has announced a grant program offering up to $10,000 to applicants in the Seward area seeking to become licensed childcare providers through the state. 75 percent of the total awarded amount will be offered up front, with the remainder paid after the provider becomes licensed.
“We started with the idea right around the holidays,” said HYPER President Casie Warner, “and then we’ve been doing some research around whatever states are doing in regards to startup grants, and then kind of formulating what the grant is going to look like, looking at our ceiling for financial support.”
Initially, the grant will provide $7,500 to reimburse any startup costs the provider might incur. The funds may cover anything from business licenses and fees to computer equipment to safety equipment or necessary home modifications.
“Really it can cover just about anything to start up a business,” Warner said. “The only thing it won’t really cover is the insurance that they would need to provide for their business.”
Once accepted to the program, applicants will benefit from HYPER’s assistance in navigating the process for the first year.
“For the first six months they will meet with me two times a month, just to go over any barriers, success, help them get connected to the proper resources, inform them of what resources are available,” Warner said, “and then after the first six months they’ll just meet with me once a month, depending on how they’re feeling in their comfort of operating their business. Then once they get about a year under their belt, they’re free-flying.”
Awardees may also avail themselves of resources available through HYPER’s partner organizations, according to Warner.
“We’ll work with some of our state and local partners,” she said, “Kelly Ann Cavaretta, who’s with the Chamber small business association. We’ll also work with the Childcare Program Office, which is the entity that does the childcare licenses. They do all the checks. They have the applications. We’ll also work with our nonprofit partner, Thread, which is located in Anchorage.”
Once a provider becomes licensed, HYPER will provide them an additional $2,500 bonus.
“Once they become licensed, we’re basically going to give them $2,500 that they can use as pay for the work they’ve done to become licensed,” Warner said. “They can use it for unexpected costs. There’s no strings attached to the $2,500. The only requirement is that they become licensed with the State of Alaska before receiving those funds.”
The Seward Childcare Provider Startup Assistance Program launched on Monday, March 14, and Warner will offer a presentation outlining further details at the March 28 regular session of the City Council. For more information call (907) 491-0544 or visit hyperseward.org.