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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 16 November, 2019
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Want to start a childcare business with a difference? This man knows how

Ciaran Flynn’s Childpaths sprung from his experience as a parent. There’s plenty of room for original ideas in Ireland’s childcare industry…

16489065067_13f67ff0e2_o Source: Philippe Put

LIKE ANY INDUSTRY, childcare has room for innovative minds – the idea just has to be good enough.

Founder and CEO of Childpaths Ciaran Flynn’s idea is certainly that and more.

A sort of Facebook meets Timehop for both parents and creches, it works effectively from two separate points of view.

“It’s never been about the money,” Glasnevin native Flynn tells TheJournal.ie.

It’s about the passion of knowing you’re doing something original and making a difference for parents. I want Childpaths to document a child’s development, but also to guide their future.

cflynn Ciaran Flynn

36-year-old Flynn had the idea when his daughter Katie first moved creches. With so many parents both working full-time in Ireland nowadays it becomes more difficult to keep a handle on your child’s development.

“Things like first steps, first words, or more mundane, simply what your child has been up to on any given day, like going up a swimming grade, these things can get lost in the cracks,” says Flynn.

On the flipside, creches have to put in an enormous amount of effort to both keep parents informed and match their statutory obligations to childcare standards Aistear and Síolta.

Childpaths aims to solve problems on both sides in one swoop. Basically, while a child is in creche staff can document the youngster’s development with a simple photo or entry on Childpaths’ system, with the update then reaching the parent via smartphone or desktop. Packages are aimed separately at both parents and childminders.

“It adds so much value for both parents and creches,” says Flynn.

I’ve a client, a parent who also runs a creche and they’re absolutely sold on it because they can see both sides of the coin.

Books and development

The compliance side is huge. We aim to be the ultimate time-saver for creches. (Childpaths updates can fulfil compliance requirements for both Aistear and Síolta)
We’re also potentially in a position to offer Childpaths to childcare providers for free, assuming we get 20% parent sign up.
From a parent’s point of view, what we’re charging covers having Childpaths for life – it’s a great idea for a present for your kids when they come of age.

ChildPathsx3

Childpaths gets a glowing endorsement from Marie Daly, chief executive with the Crann Support Group in Co Meath, with whom Flynn’s company have joined forces.

Crann are a kind of community group for creches, a very “unique concept” as Daly says, who are responsible for 1,000 children and 300 childcare professionals daily within Meath.

“Well this is unique in that you have a private enterprise joining with a community group to develop something, which rarely happens,” she told TheJournal.ie.

But the truth is, we were looking at Ciaran’s product, and looking at others, and his has the potential to become something even better than it already is.
There are huge benefits all round to Childpaths – for the parent, for the child, absolutely for the creches.
It saves time, there’s constant communication with the parents, and all it takes is a snapshot or a 5-second message sent in real time.

My first steps

Research

Flynn’s background was as a media advertising manager, which saw him dealing with customers, marketing and other stakeholders, and reporting into the UK – all experience that has served him well as he got his idea off the ground.

Childpaths first went live in September 2014 by which time Flynn had jacked in the day job to focus full time on his new ventue.

“What would I say to someone starting their own business? Do your research!” he says.

Have your homework done, and when it comes to funding you need to have everything in place.
I funded Childpaths myself, so while I have people interested in investing in the company, I can very much see the scope and value and benefit of the business.
Right now it’s about getting everything to do with the business and system right and, while we’re looking for investment, it has to be the right kind.

That may come later (Childpaths’ idea has attracted interest from New Zealand, Africa and America).

For the time being things are looking up for Flynn and his company.

“My daughter came home the other day, I asked her what she’d done that day and she said ‘check the app, daddy’,” he says.

I think that’s a good sign we’re on the right track.

This month, as part of TheJournal.ie’s ongoing startup and small and medium enterprise (SME) focus, we are looking at the parenting industry.

To view other stories from our collection, click here.

Read: ‘We thought we could set up an online shop, work from home and make a fortune’

Read: Why are Irish creches going out of business?

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