2015 Rhode Island Young Entrepreneur of the Year

A Child's U

Jay and Lynsey Colgan

The 34-year-old husband and wife team, Lynsey and Jay Colgan, founded A Child’s University in 2002 with the innovative idea of providing parents a way to use the internet to see their children at an educationally focused early childhood development school. Recognition of the importance of early education, combined with the unease parents feel when not being with their child, led to the birth of A Child’s University.

Starting with a staff of three people and little more than a few hundred dollars revenue each week, this husband and wife team has grown the business into two large, state-of-the-art facilities that now employ over sixty people and generate revenue of more than $2,500,000 yearly.

From infant to pre-kindergarten, A Child’s University offers nationally recognized curriculums. They are proud to be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. In fact, only 7% of America’s early childhood schools have achieved this certification.

The school’s national accreditation, coupled with the ability for parents to view their children (whether on their smartphone or computer) throughout the day on multiple cameras via an internet connection, provides a unique competitive advantage that has fostered significant growth over the past several years.

The day-to-day operation of A Child’s University has Lynsey and Jay working closely together. Lynsey focuses entirely on team management activities and quality initiatives, while Jay is tasked with managing finances and growth, including recent construction projects. Back-to-back expansion projects were completed on the Cranston location in 2013, followed by the purchase of two acres of land in Smithfield and the erection of a brand new facility in 2014, financed as an SBA 504 loan with Coastway Community Bank and New England Certified Development Corp. The new facility benefits from over a decade of experience and “learning the hard way” to produce a facility that utilizes elements from Disney World resorts and theme parks.

“Despite a long list of accolades, awards, and financial success, the decade of A Child’s University development could have easily been a long series of obstacles and failures,” states Lynsey Colgan. As the Colgans were only 21 years old when they opened their doors, making strategic decisions without the benefit of wisdom and real world knowledge provided many learning opportunities. The Colgans credit persistence, a never give-up attitude, and integrity as the primary reasons A Child’s University has grown so successfully. Her advice to other entrepreneurs: “Just please don’t give up. It sounds cliché, but it is all that matters. Don’t give yourself the excuse of a weak economy as the way to quit on something. Adjust course and make it work…no matter what.”

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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