The Small Business Administration (SBA) has named Wicked Cool for Kids (dba NRICH) the 2016 Massachusetts SBA Microenterprise of the Year.
“Barbara was referred to Eastern Bank through the new SBA LINC online matchmaking platform,“ said Robert Nelson, SBA Massachusetts District Director. “Barbara had been working with the Salem State University Small Business Development Center to build her business and is projecting over 50% in sales growth this year due to support received by the small business resource community.”
Barbara Johnson of Lynn, the owner and director, began the company in 2007 with her partner Tim Rees. After Tim passed away in 2013, Barbara had to change her role in the company from focusing on curriculum and staffing to running a growing business. She gained confidence and support by consulting with Salem State University’s Small Business Development Center for business management help.
Wicked Cool for Kids is an education company that specializes in customized enrichment programs in science, technology, engineering, art, and math for kids in kindergarten through 6th grade. Wicked Cool for Kids offers after school programs that extend young people’s learning beyond the school day and provides full and part time summer science programs in a camp like format. In 2015, WCFK started offering professional development workshops for those who desire to integrate active science learning into the classroom as well as early release programs and in school workshops.
The company has been approved for 4 SBA loans and has been profitable year over year in the past 3 years. The company also employs 4 full-time staff and creates 80-90 part-time jobs in the summer, the height of the busy season for the industry.
“Working with the Small Business Administration has been highly advantageous for Wicked Cool For Kids. I learned about the SBA Linc program through the Salem State University Small Business Center and through that process eventually partnered with Eastern Bank. Eastern Bank has worked very closely with us to understand our business and help us with projected growth and planning for the future.”
The Microenterprise of the Year award is presented annually to a growing business that has used assistance through SBA loan programs, or has been a client of one of our SBA technical service providers; nominee has also had at least a three-year track record and 5 or fewer employees.
Barbara Johnson was nominated by Charles Smith, Vice President of Eastern Bank.
Barbara Johnson will be honored at an SBA awards lunch along with the other 2016 Massachusetts Small Business Week winners at the Doubletree Westborough on May 6, 2016.