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Why some of Channel 10's 'Sharks' are investing in childcare

Why some of Channel 10's 'Sharks' are investing in childcare
Why some of Channel 10's 'Sharks' are investing in childcare

The co-founders of an early education facility dedicated to the care of children with disabilities have received an $80,000 investment from two of the investors on Channel Ten's Shark Tank, a show inviting news businesses to pitch in front of a panel of investors.  

Rebecca Glover decided to start her own business dedicated to the holistic care of children with disabilities in 2013 when she realised there was nowhere to send her own daughter, Ruby, who lives with a disability.

“The early years with Ruby were very turbulent and she was in constant pain. My other daughter was three when things became difficult. So once I got to the point where Ruby was more settled, I knew I would need respite for myself or I just wouldn’t be able to keep going,” Glover told Women’s Agenda.

“So I thought, who will look after her? And there was no one. I realised there was a huge gap in the market because she couldn’t go to a normal daycare and in-home care would put me $300 out of pocket every day.”

Glover said this motivated her to start a business of her own. The business, a home-run childcare service, is called Hummingbirds Early Intervention and Education Service. 

“I could see something needed to change so I started investigating different models I could use to start my own childcare service. I started to see where the need was in the community and it was clear that there was a huge amount of need for a new service like this,” Glover said.

“So I realised that same need must be everywhere. I decided I would start a childcare centre in my home at first and see where it went from there.”

 Then, in mid-2014, Glover connected with a parent who was bringing her child to Glover’s home childcare centre, Leah James.

“I had been running Hummingbirds for just over a year from my home and Leah was bringing her son each day, so we got talking about how she could help out with the business. We then joined forces and started work on a bigger plan to get a proper external centre and reachmore families, which is exactly what we’re trying to do now,” Glover said.

And this week, Glover and James have received the investment they need to do just that. The $80,000 investment from Steve Baxter and John McGrath, awarded following their pitch on Shark Tank, will help them establish their first childcare centre.

Glover said the mentoring they had received as a result of the show, on top of the large investment, has been particularly helpful.

“It’s so much bigger than just the money – the mentors we have found in Steve and John are priceless. The knowledge they can bring to our business will be unbelievably helpful. Leah and I have thepassion and the drive and we know what we’re doing, but their expertise will be such a great input and that, to me, is more important than the money,” she said. 

“We showed them that this is a real life problem and we painted a picture of what is actually happening for parents in our communities. We gave them a glimpse into this world and showed them that something has to change, and so they believed in us and saw this could be aviable business and a good investment for them.”

 Investor Steve Baxter echoed this sentiment.

“Not only does Hummingbirds strike a chord with me because of the simply incredible service it offers, it’s also a very smart business investment because it is essentially filling a large gap in the market. Rebecca and Leah have the heart, the passion, the wits and the business smarts, all brilliant traits in a business partner,” he said. 

Glover hopes to see the business grow to include multiple childcare centres in Brisbane and across Australia.

“It’s not just about childcare, it’s more than that. It’s about helping families who need help, and allowing their children to flourish and become whoever they want to be,” Glover said.

This article first appeared on Women's Agenda.

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