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2021 Rising Star Award Nominee: Karen Maria Smith, Small Steps Daycare, Lowell, Mass.

Karen offers educational services for infants through 14-year-old children at her childcare center, Small Steps Daycare in Lowell, MA. She started her business after being laid off soon after having a baby and watching friends’ children while at home.

Karen first came to CWE for general business advice. Small Steps Daycare has been open for 18 years and has a small team of eight employees. Karen hopes to offer transportation and expand into a new location by 2025.  During the pandemic, her business has had three mandatory closures. CWE has helped Karen apply for PPP loans and the MGCC MA State Grant Program, as well as find other avenues for funding. She has also attended several of CWE’s COVID-related programs for businesses.