Nursery boss backs call to help London businesses

Nursery boss Massiel Gracia is backing a fundraising campaign to help kick-start businesses in South London and across the capital.

Massiel, pictured above, set up Lambeth nursery Stepping Stones eight years ago with the help of Olmec, a charity providing free business advice to help budding entrepreneurs.

She said without Olmec, the well-known local nursery on the Bolney Meadow estate in Kennington would never have been founded and has urged people support the Christmas Challenge, which launched this week.

Stepping Stones looks after 14 children aged 15 months to three years, enabling mums and dads to go to work knowing their youngsters are in good hands.

Boss Massiel said: “I would urge people to support Olmec. When I started I knew how to run a nursery, but had no idea how to run a business.

“If we didn’t have their help the nursery would not be here now.

“I knew nothing about accounts and business plans, but Olmec helped me do all of that.”

Olmec champions race equality by helping BME companies to set up and grow. It relies on outside funding to provide free services to would-be entrepreneurs to start social enterprises.

Olmec has supported 61 social entrepreneurs in London in the last 3 years and supports a network of over 300 social enterprises.  An external evaluation by Greenmarque demonstrated that a sample of 18 social enterprises supported through our Ready to Grow programme resulted in the creation of 40 jobs and contributed over £600,000 to the economy.

Olmec chief executive John Mayford said: “Stepping Stones is a fantastic example of what is possible though social enterprise. “Stepping Stones provides an ethical, high quality childcare business offering a service to the local community in South London. Olmec’s support can help generate jobs and social impact in the local economy so we would urge people to donate through the link here.”

You can donate to Olmec at

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