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Busy Bees: Giving children the best start in life

The investment: In 2013, we purchased a majority stake in Busy Bees, a UK-based early years education provider.

At Ontario Teachers’, it’s no surprise that investing in children, the future trailblazers of tomorrow, is a subject close to our hearts. That’s why when it came to our investment in Busy Bees, we were not only interested in the growth potential of the business, we were also greatly attracted by their relentless focus on safety and quality and their track record of excellence.

We saw an opportunity to take a successful UK-based business global – helping us pay pensions to teachers in Ontario while giving more children access to quality child care. For us, Busy Bees was never just about the numbers. It was also about its founders' vision of giving children the best start in life.

“I am immensely proud that our obsessive commitment to high-quality care and early years education helps every child to be the best they can be. It certainly did for my own children. And now 37 years on, our commitment remains to give hundreds and thousands of children across the world an amazing time every day - and the best start in life too." 

Marg Randles, Co-founder
Busy Bees

Buy and build global expansion

Working together with Busy Bees, we have executed a clear buy-and-build strategy expanding services into eight new countries and over 400 more Early Years centres. For some, the daycare business is mere child’s play. At Ontario Teachers', we're inspired to help the next generation of children thrive, from Surrey to Singapore to Sydney and beyond.

How we’re investing to make a mark

Through our partnership and investment with Busy Bees, we have set the standard for childcare providers world-wide:

  • Quality childcare: 99 per cent of Busy Bees child care centres in the UK have an Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills) rating of outstanding or good
  • Global growth: Busy Bees now operates in nine countries, offering quality child care services to close to 90,000 children across 870 centres globally
  • Profitable growth: Busy Bees revenue grew by more than 280 per cent between 2013 and 2019
“Ontario Teachers' has been a great partner for our business beyond the obvious of providing capital. They have high integrity and share our values, which is fundamental for a partner in our business. Additionally, they've been invaluable coaches and contributors in the internationalization of Busy Bees.” 

Simon Irons, Chief Executive Officer
Busy Bees