Small Business Story – Stephanie Busato

First and last name: Stephanie Busato

Company Name: 4 Girls and a Chalkboard

Contact Information:

416.882.4323 or

Who are we?

Girls and a Chalkboard is a learning centre run by professionally trained teachers and faculty student-teachers. Unfortunately there are only so many hours in the school day, and therefore the time is divided between a class full of impressionable minds yearning to learn. Therefore, with an extra hour after school, any student that is finding trouble with any subject is given one-on-one attention. We offer curriculum based learning and teaching, as well as outside-the-box activities and games, promoting creativity and expansive thinking.

Who we serve?

We serve children, parents and the community.

Whether you feel that your child needs help with math, comprehension or writing skills, we are here to help them learn what they need to learn in the correct way.

Or whether Mom’s and Dad’s feel that they need an extra hour in the day, we run as an after school program and always make sure all homework is done before coming home.

Finally we are for those children who may not be behind, but want to get ahead in school. We offer advanced skills training for those children who want to be a step ahead.

Why did you become an entrepreneur?

Children at a young age are like sponges, therefore what they learn and how they learn is vital. However, being a teacher only allots 6 hours a day to care for a classroom full of impressionable minds. In the classroom, I have always wished I had more time for one-on-one with those who are struggling in certain areas.

One day was sitting amongst a group of teachers who had the same concern that some students fall behind, and there just isn’t enough time in the day to give them all the attention that they need. I started to think about what I could do to help the situation. How to give more attention to students, and teach them in the proper way: curriculum based, as well as expansive thinking. After much thought, organization and planning, I decided to start a learning centre, and thereby become an entrepreneur.

What’s the best part of being an entrepreneur…and the worst?

The best part of owning a business is seeing the results. I see results in my students, who have already gone from C’s to A’s. As well as seeing results in my bank account. The worst part is setting up the community centre room for business, because I do not have a permanent location yet.

How long have you been in business?

I have trained and volunteered in classrooms for 11 years, however began the business in May 2008.

In three lines, please describe exactly what your business does and who it serves

I provide curriculum based, as well as expansive thinking methods, from professionally trained teachers and faculty student-teachers. We run as an after-school program, and offer a new way of tutoring: run by teachers, taught by teachers, and created by teachers.

Why did you get into your particular business?

If only there were more hours in the school day, we could give more attention to those in need, however there isn’t. Therefore, this learning centre gives us an opportunity to go beyond the school day and help those who truly need it, in the proper way.

What’s unique about your business?

We are unique because we offer teachers as the tutors, as well as running as an after school program (so parents do not have to worry about picking up their children for an extra hour after school). Professional teachers know what needs to be taught and how to teach it. We also promote games and outside-the-box activities to expand the mind’s creativity. The benefits of having teachers, is we have direct communication with the child’s school teacher over First-class (school board system) and with the parent’s permission, we have direct access to DRA’s and report cards to see what subjects a child is lacking.

How did you raise the start-up cash?

Small Business Enterprise Centre Award.

Identify and discuss TWO lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?

The first lesson is to read EVERYTHING you can about owning a business, and remember to plan and organize yourself from there. It helps to over plan and over organize. The second is to maintain a happy, pleasant, and very patient atmosphere and persona. Once these traits leave, you will lose the attention of the child.

What advice – relevant to your lessons above – would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?

Say what you want out loud every morning, and every night. Tell as many people as you can, because the more people you tell, the more it will motivate you to do it – if for no other reason than you don’t want to look like a liar.

Briefly, what are your plans for the future?

I plan on having summer programs in the summer to keep children up to date with the material they will need to remember and know for the upcoming school year. September will be our busiest month, so planning and organizing strategies and activities for the new and returning students is a must. I am returning to the University of Toronto OISE for my masters, so working around school days and business days will need planning and organizing.

Any other information or advice you’d like to share?

Ask for help when you need it. I have a supportive aunt (also a teacher who does documentaries for the school board because of her amazing teaching style) who is graciously volunteering to help on those days come September when I am in school, and need someone to run the business.


One response to “Small Business Story – Stephanie Busato

  1. You may be interested in the very inspiring efforts of Dave Eggers. See his TED Prize wish at The Once Upon A School website is: It is a widespread volunteer effort to support school and education that is sweeping the continent! See Dave Egger’s Ted Prize wish video presentation at Enjoy and good luck with your inspirational entrepreneurial efforts!

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