Gateway Learning Academy, LLC

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Gateway Learning Academy, LLC, under the dedicated leadership of Frankie Briggs, stands as a beacon of quality childcare in Memphis, Tennessee. Established on March 1, 2005, with a mission centered on nurturing children as valuable assets for the future, Gateway Learning Academy is committed to providing affordable, high-quality childcare services with a focus on academic excellence, family values, and multicultural skills.

For nearly two decades, Gateway Learning Academy has maintained a stellar reputation as a 3-star facility, embodying a commitment to excellence. The academy, grounded in the belief that investing in children’s futures strengthens society, implements a research-based curriculum and provides professional services to parents. As a cornerstone of the community, Gateway Learning Academy hosts various events, including back-to-school giveaways and initiatives like “coats for kids” in November, demonstrating its dedication to supporting the needs of the neighborhood.

The academy’s commitment extends beyond its immediate services. With a family engagement coach on staff, Gateway Learning Academy collaborates with parents and the community to seek, support, and provide resources for furthering education and pursuing dreams. Partnering with Le Bonheur Hospital for over 15 years and hosting a Shelby County Schools’ HeadStart program, the academy provides a safe and nurturing environment for children.

Similar to many small businesses, they faced challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic-induced closure impacted the business significantly, leading to a loss of income and layoffs. Gateway Learning Academy approached the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at Southwest Tennessee Community College (TSBDC at Southwest) seeking support in business planning, marketing strategies, and managing capital flow.

Under the guidance of lead consultant Eddie Harris, the TSBDC at Southwest played a pivotal role in assisting Gateway Learning Academy. The center advised the client on loan options, facilitating referrals to different banks and the Childcare Technical Assistance Network. This support enabled Gateway Learning Academy to secure funding exceeding $350,000, ensuring its continued operation and service to the community.

Beyond financial assistance, the TSBDC provided valuable insights into marketing strategies, encouraging contact with old customers, distributing flyers, offering bonuses to employees, and leveraging social media. These efforts aimed not only at maintaining the business but also at actively engaging with the community and reinforcing Gateway Learning Academy’s presence.

Looking ahead, the TSBDC at Southwest plans to continue supporting Gateway Learning Academy’s success. The center will assist the client in navigating regulatory requirements, such as creating an account on the code enforcement site ( and a pursuing a project to display signage in a relevant residential zone to increase the academy’s visibility.

In the words of the client, “Thank you for helping with grants forms, increase children enrollment, increase employment, and increase capital.” This sentiment encapsulates the collaborative success story of Gateway Learning Academy and the TSBDC at Southwest, illustrating the transformative power of strategic support for businesses serving underserved communities.

Frankie Briggs expresses gratitude for the TSBDC’s assistance, acknowledging the impact on various facets of the business, including grant forms, increased children enrollment, enhanced employment opportunities, and improved capital flow. Gateway Learning Academy anticipates hiring seven more employees and expanding its current business operations.

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