It started with a single student. That’s who Evelyn Taveras welcomed in May 2014 when she opened the doors to Bee Creative Academy, a West Park preschool. In three weeks, Taveras had three students. Over the past year, the business has blossomed, with 59 children ages 1 to 5, and eight employees. Bee Creative offers voluntary prekindergarten, or VPK, preschool and after-school performing arts classes.

Lured to South Florida by the good weather, Taveras moved to Hallandale Beach in 2012. With an MBA, and experience in general management and human resources at a Columbia University nonprofit in New York, Taveras was ripe for a business opportunity. As a mom, she found herself pulled toward early education.

“I researched the market to look for needs,” Taveras said. “I love children, and I’m a firm believer in education, so I just combined my loves.”

Now, at near-capacity in West Park, Taveras wants to expand to a second location. She is looking at nearby sites that would require construction, as well as an established preschool for sale about 40 minutes away. Two potential business partners have approached her to collaborate, and she is considering her options for expansion.

“We’re all in it for the best interests of the children,” she said.

Taveras asked the Miami Herald for a Small Business Makeover, and the Herald brought in Broward SCORE, a nonprofit with volunteer counselors from the business community who mentor small business owners. The SCORE tune-up team was led by David Harris, director of marketing, Greenway Golf Course Management, whose expertise is operational management, fiscal controls and marketing. Other team members were George Gremse, Broward SCORE chairman, whose expertise is management, mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures, and Vincent Caldevilla, Broward SCORE operations chairman, whose expertise is operations, project management and multilocation management.

“You are only a year old and your business is doing well. You are cash-flow-positive, and you are paying yourself back for what you invested in the business,” Gremse said. Now you have to grow strategically so you don’t jeopardize the future of the business, he said.

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