So far, half of the £2m Childcare Business Grant, which was launched last year, has been paid out to more than 4,500 entrepreneurs, leaving a further £1m still available.
To mark the milestone, childcare and education minister Sam Gyimah visited Brown Bears Nursery in Tottenham, which owner Cheryl Brown opened up after accessing funding through the grant.
The Childcare Business Grant is available to individuals who want to set up their own childcare business and provides help with costs such as training, equipment and adapting premises.
Grants of £500 are available to those looking to start nurseries or care for disabled children, and £250 to prospective childminders. The deadline for grant applications is 31 December 2014.
Under the scheme, new childcare businesses are also encouraged to team up with a mentor so they can access free, tailored start-up advice.
Nicky Morgan, education secretary and minister for women and equalities, said, ‘The Childcare Business Grant is a key part of our long-term economic plan. It has already benefited thousands of people, from nursery owners and childminders to the children of parents who use them.
‘We know that it can be tough setting up your own business. This money is a helping hand for people who care about children and want to work looking after them. It will also encourage the creation of more childcare places, a key part of our plan to help parents who want to get back to work after having children.’
Mr Gyimah said, ‘We know that parents want good quality, affordable and available childcare. The Childcare Business Grant encourages the creation of more places, helping mothers get back to work.
‘This money is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who wants to set up their own business to look after children. If you are thinking about taking the first steps towards becoming a childminder or nursery owner then I encourage you to apply.’