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Maite Beltran Montanez came to the UK from Spain 11 years ago to improve her English and learn about British culture. She felt having good language skills and a wider experience of the world would open more doors for her career wise.
Now she is planning to exploit her knowledge of the British and Spanish cultures to open what she hopes will be the largest UK nanny agency to specialise in providing Spanish-speaking nannies to UK families.
Maite, who has always loved children, has been a nanny for the last few years, working with different families. She began as a babysitter then did her NVQ Level 3 in childcare. She has worked in a nursery and as a nanny and in between has been back to Spain. She’s currently working for an American family who specifically wanted a Spanish-speaking nanny for their three-year-old son.
She says she has noticed a growing interest in Spain among British people with more and more British people retiring there and an increasing demand for Spanish speakers. It made her think how she might be able to bring the rich Spanish culture to families and help their children to grow up bilingual. “There are many, many benefits to speaking another language. It opens up a new culture to children and builds personal esteem, for instance,” she says.
Over the last year Maite has developed that idea and has put together a contract for childcare workers. Through her Facebook site and word of mouth she has recruited 30 Spanish nannies, au pairs, tutors and maternity nurses from Spain or the UK to work for the Spanish Nanny Agency. They all have DBS checks and good references. Maite has interviewed all of them and says she is 100% confident to represent them. She has also been talking to families about their needs. There is an initial registration fee of £65 for those using the site and then an annual commission fee to families for placement.
Her plans have got a boost over the last few months since Maite enrolled on the This Foreigner Can Migrant Business Accelerator programme run by social entrepreneur Rafael dos Santos, founder of mi-HUB, at Greenwich University.
It has taught her about all aspects of running a business, from sales to finances to social media and matched her up with business mentors. The 16-week programme finished just before Christmas and Maite had to give a presentation to 100 business investors in the hope of winning investment in her business. Up until now she has been using her savings.
After the programme finishes, she will still have access to mentors and workshops and she can rent a desk through mi-HUB.
Maite says one of her big challenges has been her accent, which is fairly strong, and she has worked with a voice coach on this. She has done all of this while still working as a nanny from Monday to Thursday. That has meant a lot of late nights, but she now feels she needs more time on the business to develop it faster.
Maite plans to leave her nanny job in the Spring and devote more time to looking for families to take on nannies. Initially she will focus on Kensington and Chelsea, talking in schools and nurseries. She will also start a blog and develop her social media presence. She says: “2016 is going to be very busy and challenging, but I am looking forward to it. It will give me a chance to apply all I have learnt.”