Nursery stars in docusoap

VIEWERS across the country will follow the progress of first-time nursery owner Stephanie Davies when she opens the Little Darlings nursery in west Wales next month.

Mrs Davies, a mother of six, was chosen as one of five entrepreneurs who will be tracked for a year by BBC Wales docusoap The Biz.

She has worked as a day nursery supervisor and vocational qualification assessor, but decided to open a nursery after her husband's farm began to struggle becausae of BSE and foot-and-mouth.

Mrs Davies said: "We decided we needed to diversify in some way to support the family... I saw this nursery for sale and my husband Clive said I should have a go."

She then saw an advert asking for entrants to The Biz in her local paper. "I had to go for an audition in front of a panel of judges, it was like Pop Idol for the business world," she said.

The Biz is a joint project between BBC Wales and the Welsh Development Agency. The five winners will receive help and advice from the agency and business support organisations during the year.

There is big money in nurseries. Last year, Alchemy Partners, a private equity group, paid pound;22 million for an 80 per cent stake in nursery chain Just Learning. The deal made a millionaire of former education minister Michael Fallon, managing director of Just Learning.

Mrs Davies has spent pound;25,000 setting up her 17-place nursery. The first episode of The Biz will be screened in November.

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