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KidsCo wins council grant

06 May 2020

KidsCo wins council grant Image

The City of Melbourne has awarded the first round of grants as part of its financial support package to help businesses adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.

Among the first successful applicants is Southbank’s KidsCo, which will share in the initial $166,000 of funding, with the remaining $4.83 million still to be allocated.

KidsCo works with employers to help increase the productivity of working parents during the school holiday period by providing school holiday programs in the workplace across the nation.

Now, with the majority of Australia’s corporate workforce working from home, founder and managing director, Adrian Rokman, has pivoted KidsCo’s business model to provide a “virtual after school care” program for busy parents.

“After the second stage of restrictions we immediately lost our biggest corporate partner and by 5pm later that day we had lost 80 to 90 per cent of our client base,” Mr Rokman said.

“We’ve taken everything we are known for; next-level, dynamic educational activities, combined with qualified teachers and put it all online, in the space of nine days.”

According to Mr Rokman, KidsCo which employs 300 teachers nationally, will see over 10,000 children each school holiday period. That number slashed to just a meagre, but promising, 3000 kids during the latest school holidays.

The council’s $5 million grants program provides financial support for businesses to invest in online and e-commerce capabilities, take part in training and professional development and undertake capital works.

“To take everything online, we needed a platform that would enable us to do so. We ended up getting a Zoom educational platform,” Mr Rokman said. “What it allows us to do is break the children down into classrooms and age groups.”

“With everyone in lockdown, there’s been no socialisation. The best part of this online pivot has been our ability to facilitate social interactions between children.”

“I jumped on during lunchtime when they have a break and found six who were all showing each other their pet dogs and doing pen pals on the screen to each other. It has been such an incredible win that we hadn’t anticipated – these children now have friends they would never have had before this.”

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said this was just the beginning of the council’s investment in Melbourne’s business community.

On May 1, the council announced a further 55 successful grant recipients sharing in $264,000, with more to be announced soon.

“Small businesses make up about 80 per cent of the total number of businesses in the City of Melbourne and are run by people and families who have turned an idea or a passion into an enterprise,” the Lord Mayor said. “These businesses play a major role in providing jobs for Melburnians, and right now, they urgently need our support.”

“We have received an overwhelming response to this grants program with thousands of small and medium-sized businesses applying for financial support.”

“This goes to show that even in tough times, our local businesses are ready to tackle challenges head on, think differently and adapt, which is an admirable spirit we want to reward and support as much as we can.” •

For more information visit kidsco.net.au

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