Financial assistance helps Garden Montessori School

Financial Assistance helps USF SBDC Client Open the First “Certified Green Pre-school” in USA! After the birth of her first child, Patricia Gutierrez became interested in helping children achieve a better education. In 2006, she met Stefani Ruskin. Both of them had similar goals: a passion for educating children, a desire to protect the environment, and a wish to become entrepreneurs.

Stefani was a director and teacher for another Montessori school and Patricia had a financial background having worked in banking. Thus, they felt that they had the right combination of talents to make a Montessori School a success. In January, 2008 Patricia Gutierrez went to Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of South Florida (USF SBDC) for assistance with developing a business plan to open a Montessori School in Wesley Chapel, Fl. There she worked with Jim Parrish, Certified Business Analyst, to help make their dream happen.

According to Patricia, Jim Parrish was able to help us determine if opening a Montessori School in Wesley Chapel would be a good business decision as well as understand the processes we would have to go through to open a new school. We needed to make sure this venture would be not only an educational success but a financial success before we invested our money.

Start-up Opens Doors to Business

Although there were many obstacles in getting opened, on November 11, 2009 the Garden Montessori School opened its doors as a Certified Green School, becoming the first preschool/daycare in both Florida and the United States to receive this distinction. This certification was awarded by the Green Schools League and recognized ?the vision and commitment that Ms. Ruskin and Ms. Gutierrez have made to create and maintain a healthy school environment?. Co-owner Stefani Ruskin says ?Our primary goal for going green was to provide the children with a healthy environment.

Our goal is to make children more aware of living responsibly. We hope that by teaching the students about conservation and recycling, we will help them think about how they impact the planet.? For more information, visit