In April, Alliance Virtual Offices launched a new campaign to support small businesses, called the ‘Backer Of Small Business’.
In this particular contest, Alliance Virtual pledged to give away $500 to one dedicated startup, and received over 30 entries from small business owners in the process.
Frank Cottle, ABCN Chairman, judged the entries alongside Viveka von Rosen – LinkedIn Consultant and social media expert.
Both judges were unanimous in their choice of winner, and it’s not hard to see why.
‘A Space For Me’
The winning entry was penned by 28-year-old Andrea Kelly (pictured above with business mentor Charles Walters), an undergraduate student at the University of Cincinnati, who is developing TWO ventures within the social care industry.
A Space 4 Me is a child enrichment center for kids aged up to 12 years old. Andrea is in the process of negotiating terms for rental of the space, based in the Roselawn area of Cincinnati, and plans to roll out a full range of services including tutoring, pre-school and after-school care, kindergarten ‘readiness’, and a creche for tots up to 3 years old.
Andrea also plans to include a co-op program for parents, transportation, and CDA class training, along with support for students and volunteers who need experience in a child care setting.
Commenting on the center, she said: “I would like everyone who uses the services – parents, teachers, and children – to arrive every day knowing that there is a space for them.”
This vision lies at the core of Andrea’s onjectives, and along the same theme, she is developing proposals for a second venture – a transitional shelter for women and children as a non-profit organization.
The shelter will provide temporary housing and more permanent solutions for longer-term residents.
“The building that I am trying to acquire for this space is on the Northside business district in Cincinnati,” she said. “It is designed to alleviate chronic family homelessness which occurs because of high rates of poverty in the Cincinnati area.”
Andrea explained that child poverty in Cincinanti is among the worst in major U.S. metropolitian cities. Explaining what she plans to do with her $500 funding from Alliance Virtual Offices, she added:
“A Space For Me Transitional Shelter is in the developing stage, and with the funding I will officially register A Space For Me as a Non-profit and then seek to raise funds for the building itself. I will also register with the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, which will assist with awareness and investment.”
Ultimately, Andrea plans to benefit and engage local communities through both the childcare center and the shelter. As part of this, she intends to create jobs in the local area through employment at A Space 4 Me Child Enrichment Center, which will range from tutors and on-site kitchen staff to drivers.
Commenting on Andrea’s venture and his reasons for selecting A Space 4 Me as the winner, Frank Cottle said:
“Our children are our future; and their care and nurturing is the means by which we build a solid foundation for everything that society hopes to accomplish.
“A Space 4 Me is a perfect example of a public/private partnership that demonstrates thought leadership and practical action in an area that can gain great benefit from our humble contribution. We hope that our support will not only demonstrate our own commitment to businesses that take a strong social position, but that it will encourage others to do so as well.”
Viveka von Rosen commented:
“I have two assistants that have consciously chosen to work at home, so they can be with their children as they grow up. Not all working men and women have that option – often having to make the choice between being with family and supporting the family.
“I love the fact that A Space 4 Me provides both childcare and job development, so that the working parent(s) not only know their children are safe, but that they can themselves uplevel their possibilities and options as providers.”