Divine and Marnie presented their idea to seven conventional lenders in two years, all of whom believed in their vision and dream, but declined to take a risk on their business.
When Purple Moon cofounders, Marnie Kortobi and Divine Klutesy, were raising their own family, they faced an all-too-familiar problem: They had to work, and while they were working, they wanted their children to have quality childcare. They looked around, but every childcare center they found was either lacking space for infants, or the quality of care was not up to their standards.
In 2012, they decided it was time for Marnie to return to her passion. They set out to open their own home-based childcare – to meet the needs of other middle-class families in their area.
They quickly realized that the home setting was ideal for children. They focused on the comfort and individuality of each child and were able to customize curriculum to the children’s interests. The kids learned a lot and had fun doing it! They were onto something.
Marnie pursued her Large Center Director’s license with the next stage of their business in mind.
- To open a larger childcare center, scaling from their registered home-based childcare facility that maxed out at 6 children
- To establish a true home-away-from-home environment that focused on natural experiences
- To secure small business financing for their venture
The SBA lending challenge: Too much risk
Divine and Marnie presented their idea to seven conventional lenders in two years, all of whom believed in their vision and dream but declined to take a risk on lending to their business. The business owners did not give up and finally found the financing they needed through Ready Capital.
The main challenge the small business owners faced was risk aversion from lenders. Because childcare is heavily regulated, it’s a talent deficient industry. Most childcare centers were understaffed even before the pandemic, and the problem only got worse once the pandemic set in.
Despite facing so much rejection initially, Marnie and Divine did not give up on their bigger dream of Purple Moon. The eighth lender they spoke with was Ready Capital, and our underwriters found a way to absorb risk to allow this inspiring and much-needed service to grow.
Results with Ready Capital
- What began as an idea for a registered home-based childcare facility for up to 6 children, Purple Moon now has capacity for 70 children at the facility.
- Despite staffing issues plaguing many industries, the center is fully staffed.
- Marnie and Divine have established a true home-away-from–home environment for classroom and teaching staff; respect, family-like environment, openness, and harmony between teachers, parents, students and management.
- The benefit to their community – particularly during the pandemic – has been worth the initial struggle to get funded.