Excellence in child care and early education.
April Marie Lukasik, founder of Bright&Early Children’s Learning Centers, finds her roots in a family of entrepreneurs. Her grandmother owned and operated a nursing home that her parents later grew into a successful entity. April started off working in the family business, gathering experience and cultivating her passion of caring for others. After obtaining her Bachelors Degree in Marketing, April jumpstarted her entrepreneurial career, creating and operating multiple companies while gaining experience and insight into what it takes to build and grow a successful organization.
When her children were toddlers, April found herself searching for CT child care options that suited her needs and standards as a discerning parent… a safe, secure, nurturing, warm, home-like, educational, organized, and clean child care center. Not finding what she was looking for, April tapped into her entrepreneurial spirit to start her own child care center that met all of these standards. She renovated a 10,000 square foot building, set up 16 classrooms, enrolled 150 families, and hired a staff of 30. She successfully brought to market the kind of exceptional educational child care center she envisioned for her own children. Realizing that she had fulfilled the need for high quality child care and early education in Middletown, she set out to grow the company again, opening locations in North Branford, Old Saybrook, West Hartford and Niantic.
Over the years, April has created, developed, and implemented a business model that easily competes with the national brands of child care. With over 20 years of experience in the business, an excellent reputation, and detailed systems achieving the highest of standards, it was time to build upon the solid foundation, and take the company to the next level. Currently, Bright&Early is proud to have cared for and educated thousands of children and to have sent them on a path for success. The company philosophy captures the spirit of exceptional child care: “Awakening young minds when it matters most.”
2019 CT Entrepreneurship Lifetime Achievement Award
Leading entrepreneur recognized for innovation, achievements by community voting, and global judges panel. Named as recipient of the first-ever CT Entrepreneurship Lifetime Achievement Awards was April Lukasik, the founder and president of Bright & Early Children’s Learning Centers.
“The quality and quantity of the finalists this year reflects the incredible growth of the entrepreneurial community in Connecticut,” said CT Entrepreneur Awards founder Bill Kenney. “Collectively, those selected as winners in their categories, those earning Honorable Mention, and all the finalists, have a strong impact on our state and its communities, and that’s good news for Connecticut. We look forward to hearing more about their progress in the coming years, and to the
continued growth of entrepreneurship and economic independence in our state.”
2018 US SBA’s CT Small Business – Person of the Year
During Connecticut Small Business Week April 29 – May 5, 2018, April Lukasik was awarded the coveted and prestigious US Small Business Adminstration’s Person of the Year Award for the state of Connecticut. April went to Washington, DC and met with Connecticut’s own Linda McMahon, Adminstrator US SBA, for an award dinner at the US Institute of Peace. Representing CT was an incredible honor, and more so for April personally, because CT was represented by a woman in business.
“April Lukasik and her business, Bright&Early Children’s Learning Centers exemplify perfectly what this very significant SBA award is intended to recognize. The business is not only rapidly growing and creating a significant number of jobs, but April has touched the lives of so many over the history of the business due to her passion for her business of delivering high quality child care for working families.”
ANNE HUNT, SBA CONNECTICUT DISTRICT DIRECTOR
At the CT Award Ceremony in New Haven, CT
Entrepreneur’s Organization – CT Board Member
As a member of Entrepreneur’s Organization – Connecticut, as well as having been an active Board Member for 10 years, April continuously attends executive education and global learning programs. From 2011-2013, she attended and completed the Entreprenurial Masters Program hosted at MIT. She also attended the EO Growth Forum hosted at The London Business School in 2015. April held the 2017-2018 position of President of EO Connecticut, leading the organization and promoting its mission to provide ongoing entrepreneurial educational learning events, forum based groups, and once in a lifetime experiences for Connecticut’s entrepreneurial community.
An active member of the business community, she also volunteers as a coach and mentor for college students interested in developing start-up companies and entrepreneurship.
Pictured with Kathy Pancione, Regional Director of all Bright&Early centers, attending a conference and workshop on Building Leaders.
2017 Judge for the College of the Holy Cross Shark Tank
As part of giving back to aspiring entrepreneurs, April volunteers each year as a coach, mentor, and judge for the College of Holy Cross Annual Shark Tank Competition. See below for local articles on this year’s event…