When you step foot into Cottage Seven Academy, you will immediately notice the small class sizes and intentional blending of students in various grade levels. In their therapeutic educational environment, students have the opportunity to learn with access to more resources and additional support than the average school.
Established to serve southeastern Pennsylvania school districts as a specialized program to support students with emotional and behavioral “exceptionalities,” Cottage Seven, located in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, opened in January of 2017 to create an environment that challenges students academically and socially. With only 5 classrooms having a maximum capacity of 12 students per room, their warm and welcoming atmosphere aims to create meaningful connections and foster inclusivity among their diverse student body.
“Private education is pretty unique,” says Cottage Seven CEO Bret Wade. School as a business is a tough position to be in. For us to be viable, we have to be more efficient, and fortunately for us, there are ways to be much more efficient than most school districts can be.” However, even the most efficient businesses can run into trouble when it comes to funding.
“We don’t get compensation from the school districts through July and August,” explains Wade. “Traditional banks wouldn’t even sit down at the table with us. We were told to come back when we have better tax returns.”
That’s when he turned to True Access Capital. After loaning the school money from his own pocket to make payroll, Wade knew he needed to look for other funding sources, and True Access Capital connected him with the SBA Community Advantage Loan, and in turn, saved the school.
“Clinton Tymes, True Access Capital’s Technical Assistance Coordinator comes out and visits the school to assure that we have the resources and support that we need. The team at True Access Capital is top notch, and it has been an incredibly valuable experience,” said Wade.
Cottage Seven can now look to the future. With opportunities to expand in the region and throughout Pennsylvania, Cottage Seven is able to focus on helping more students get the individualized attention they need to be successful in life.
Clinton Tymes notes that borrowers like this are precisely why organizations like True Access Capital are important. “Our chief goal is to help businesses move to the next level, and we couldn’t be happier that we’ve helped Cottage Seven achieve that.”
True Access Capital has been a Small Business Administration (SBA) Community Advantage lender since 2011. The program provides mission-based, lenders up to an 85% guaranty on loans made through the program. Loans go up to $250,000.