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Chris Reid with Cllr Niki Penney and Peter Rooney of Enterprise Ventures

Chris Reid with Cllr Niki Penney and Peter Rooney of Enterprise Ventures

A Burnley company which has developed a software management system for the childcare sector has secured a £100,000 loan from Lancashire County Council’s Rosebud Finance.

Connect Childcare’s system covers every aspect of nursery school management – from registering attendance and sending out bills to recording children’s development. The funding will allow the company to roll out its new module, iConnect, which uses the latest touchscreen technology and was developed with a previous Rosebud loan.

iConnect makes it easy for nursery staff using the technology to make observations, in line with the Government’s Early Years Foundation Stage framework, and engages parents in their child’s development by providing them with a full daily report on meals, sleep and activities – with links to photos and video.

Connect was set up in 2004 by the current CEO Chris Reid to provide time and attendance software for companies employing mobile workers. However he soon spotted a gap in the market for nursery management software, which has proved the fastest growing part of the business.

Over 1,000 nurseries in the UK now use its system and the company has expanded from 10 to 32 staff in the past three years. Chris, who is married with two young children of his own, says: “I am passionate about creating more hands-on time between key workers and children, and bringing parents closer to their child’s development. By making everyday observations quick and simple, iConnect frees up staff time spent on paperwork. It also makes it easier for parents to share their child’s learning journey and become more involved.”

Rosebud is a finance package supporting Lancashire firms to grow and expand their business. It is managed by Enterprise Ventures, on behalf of Lancashire County Developments Ltd (LCDL) – Lancashire County Council’s economic development company.

County Councillor Niki Penney, Chair of LCDL, said: “This is the second time that Rosebud has been able to support Connect Childcare. Their team have been able to attract high-quality and talented staff, to drive forward their growth.

“We’re delighted that they’ve already had a lot of success and we’re backing them to help them grow further in the future.

“Rosebud provides finance to help your growth ambitions, as well as a complete financial package of customised business support and advice to suit you. We’re aiming to bring new jobs to Lancashire and we want to hear from ambitious growing business.”

Peter Rooney of Enterprise Ventures added: “The iConnect Childcare system not only improves nursery schools’ efficiency and helps them comply with government initiatives, but can also improves the quality of interactions with children and parents. This latest funding round will help the company to grow its market share with the eventual aim of expanding overseas.”