2013 Rhode Island and New England Entrepreneurial Success Award Winner Announced

A Boston native, Dave founded and successfully operated and managed several mortgage banking and brokerage firms for nearly 30 years.  During that time he noticed that his employees would leave the company to start a family.  Many wanted to return to their jobs but found it difficult to find reliable, quality child care.  MacDonald recognized another opportunity to serve an important need in the community.  In 1990 he partnered with two women, Karen Annotti and Dr. Maryann Shallcross-Smith, who were both very experienced in early childhood education and founded a company that in the early days was called Child Care Connection.  It started with one location in Lincoln, RI. David MacDonald embodies the term entrepreneur.  In fact, he is a classic “serial entrepreneur,” always on the lookout for new opportunities and needs in the marketplace.

The company grew steadily over the next two decades. Today, the company has 19 locations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. In 2010 the company changed its name to The Children’s Workshop and now serves over 1,500 children in 19 communities, supporting hundreds of working families. The Children’s Workshop Provides Early Childhood Education and Daycare at 19 Locations

The firm’s first facility in Lincoln was financed in part by an SBA 504 loan through the Ocean State Business Development Authority.  A second 504 loan through OSBDA was made in 2002 to purchase a building in an East Providence industrial park, an ideal location for a child care center.

As the first center in Lincoln flourished, MacDonald soon realized that the demand was greater than he had anticipated.  In 1994, a second center was opened in Smithfield and shortly afterwards a third center was opened in East Greenwich.

Growth continued in Rhode Island though the 90s and into the early 2000s.  However it was becoming apparent that the company had to expand beyond Rhode Island.  Dave looked to Massachusetts for expansion.    Between 2004 and 2012, the company acquired or opened seven locations in the Bay State.

In 2002, an experienced manager was hired to oversee the day-to-day operations while Dave focused on his other business ventures while remaining chairman of the company.  Like most businesses, the recent economic downturn had an impact on their bottom line.

In 2010 MacDonald resumed the role of president and CEO.  He helped initiate a campaign to reinvest heavily into the facilities, curriculum, and programs offered.  As a result, of these changes, The Children’s Workshop is stronger than ever.

Child care is certainly not a new concept; it is a necessity for busy, dual income, working families.  What makes The Children’s Workshop unique is the company’s commitment to families and serving their needs.  TCW offers flexibility so a parent can choose a schedule that best meets their needs.  They offer convenient hours and also provide transportation to and from local schools for their school age program.

Communication between home and school is open and easy so families can be as involved as possible in the education and care of their child.

The centers offer hot, nutritious meals through a wholly owned catering company that operates out of their Central falls facility.  MacDonald understands that busy families don’t always have the time to prepare nutritious lunches before school every day.  In some low income communities, some children were not receiving any nutritious food at all.  As a result, Dave prioritized meals and explored many options but decided having his own catering company was the best solution. The company now has a fleet of vehicles that delivers hot meals to their centers every morning so no child goes hungry and the parents have one less chore to worry about during the hectic morning routine.

For his demonstrated success and potential for continued growth, the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to honor David B. MacDonald, founder and CEO of The Children’s Workshop, with the 2013 Rhode Island and New England SBA Entrepreneurial Success Award.

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