Entrepreneur Profile: Rebecca Murray, founder of The Inclusion Playland

Staples is proud to support Canadian entrepreneurs with tools and resources to help them build their businesses and turn their dreams into reality. That’s why, together with Ownr (by RBC Ventures), Shopify and Moneris, we joined the Canada Starts initiative to support Canadian entrepreneurs by awarding grants to help them get their big idea off the ground. We caught up with Rebecca Murray, founder of The Inclusion Playland to find out how her business venture is going since being awarded a Canada Starts grant.

Tell us a bit about your business.

The Inclusion Playland is an educational childcare centre with a focus on providing supportive, inclusive programming. Children aged 2 to 6 play, learn, and communicate through projects, interactive games, small group participation and experiences from ten different developmental domains: math & reasoning, language, literacy, social studies, emotional intelligence, science, cognitive, creative play, health & wellness, and physical.

How did you get started?

I’m a social worker with more than sixteen years of experience supporting people. I have developed a passion for helping people connect to their community and believe that everyone should feel like they belong. I got started by supporting people in developing life skills and creating opportunities to use those skills. Assisting babies and young children with their communication in the last 10+ years motivated me to create and implement programming that improves the quality of life for families. After the success of using American Sign Language with people who can hear but are non-verbal or pre-verbal, I decided to build a childcare centre that uses total communication in its programming.

How did COVID-19 shape your business idea?

As a social worker, I recognize that the pandemic has caused people to feel fear, anxiety and other mental health challenges. Balance, self-care and knowing your children are safe while at work is key to managing those feelings. COVID-19 and social distancing requirements have shaped the structure of my business – one example is our sensory room. Instead of having one space for kids who feel stressed out to decompress, I’ve expanded the sensory elements throughout other spaces at our centre, allowing for social distancing.

Why did you decide to start a business during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Even though we’re in the midst of a pandemic, the need for quality child care is still present. Being an essential worker myself and with more people working from home, it is essential for people to have family-life-work balance while young children improve their independence, social, emotional, physical, and communication skills with children their own age.

What’s your greatest struggle as a business owner right now?

Meeting deadlines, because there are projects and steps that are independent of each other but when completed they combine to form the whole picture. Another challenge is raising capital and grant opportunities. The more successful I am with this, the faster all the programming and service components can be implemented.

What are your expectations for 2021 as an entrepreneur?

I envision building my leadership skills by empowering staff and families, strengthening relationships with other entrepreneurs, and connecting with community members to bring more opportunities for families.

What keeps you inspired and working every day?

Program development keeps me inspired. I use my creativity, passions and skill set to create programming that every child can participate in and benefit from. Program facilitation has many positive returns when learning and play come together. Measuring the success of the programming according to each child’s development and level of enjoyment is very rewarding for me.

What tips do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs in 2021?

Find a mentor and tap into their knowledge and experience. Opportunities may arise out of the relationship, and you could gain valuable feedback and support for your ideas. Network with like-minded people because success is shared.

How does Staples Canada help your business?

I use Staples for printing, which is an important part of program development and daily operations. I also recognize Staples as a one-stop shop for anything office and business-related including co-working spaces, designing ideas and shipping services. Before I learned how to laminate, I used Staples regularly for laminating. I still use their laminating services for items that are too big.

Learn more at http://inclusionplay.com Instagram: @inclusionandplay Facebook: @Inclusionplay

Check out Small Business & Entrepreneurship on our Working and Learning Blog to learn more about how Staples Canada is supporting Canadian entrepreneurs.

By Staples Canada

September 10, 2021