Aurora Womens Empowerment Foundation Makes Grant Possible

Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) Aurora Leadership Team

AURORA, IL, USA, April 26, 2022.  The Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation (AWEF) has awarded the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) a two-year grant to expand its successful Early Childhood Education Entrepreneurial Program (ECEEP). The program helps Aurora childcare entrepreneurs grow their businesses, ensuring that parents in the community have equitable, accessible, affordable, and safe childcare options.

It’s well documented that the COVID-19-induced economic hardships we’re now facing have disproportionately impacted working women,” said Amy Baudouin, Board Chair, Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation. “And, sadly, decreased accessibility to childcare facilities is among the main culprits behind the rising women’s unemployment rate. We want to do whatever we can to help reverse this dangerous trend and see WBDC’s program as a vital resource for our city’s childcare providers, which greatly benefits women who work.

Amy Baudouin

Emilia Dimenco

“This program was explicitly designed to teach crucial childcare entrepreneurs the business side of their business,” said Emilia DiMenco, President and CEO of Women’s Business Development Center. “It is something so necessary. We want to thank the Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation for understanding, appreciating, and supporting our work to empower Aurora childcare providers to thrive and prosper. When parents can access safe and affordable childcare options close to home, they can reach their full potential at work.”

“As the second-largest city in Illinois with a diverse population, the WBDC team knows it is essential to expand business development and support services for our childcare business owners in Aurora,” said Aisha McBurrows, Director of the WBDC Women’s Business Center Aurora. The ECEEP is a proven program that has helped childcare business owners since 1998. WBDC will use its grant funds to amplify, customize, and deliver the program directly to Aurora childcare business owners.

Aisha McBurrows

Minerva Calatayud

The grant will enable WBDC to offer childcare providers access to their programs and advisory services. During the first year of the grant, the WBDC will deliver RiseUp! for startup businesses and Elevate! for established businesses. The programs will be delivered in either Spanish or English.

To learn more or register for the Early Childcare Education Entrepreneurial Program in Aurora, please contact Minerva Calatayud, Associate Director of Entrepreneurial Services in Aurora, at (312) 853.3477 x270 or


The Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation mission is to elevate and empower Aurora-area women and future women by making grants to tax-exempt nonprofits engaged in meaningful, measurable work that helps women over the hurdles of inequity and exclusion, propelling them forward with life-changing programs and services.  For more information about grants made by AWEF, including our grant guidelines and online application, visit

The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) is a 501(c)(3) nationally-recognized leader in the field of women’s economic development. The organization was founded in 1986 to provide programs and services to support and accelerate women’s business ownership and strengthen the impact of women on the economy by creating jobs, fueling economic growth, and building strong communities. The WBDC’s core competency is understanding the unique challenges and obstacles women business owners face in the marketplace. The WBDC envisions a world where women have an equitable opportunity to establish and grow profitable businesses that support their families, fuel economic growth, and build strong communities. For more information, visit