Call for expression of interest

Seeking new franchisors

Imagine a brand that has over a million customers on its waiting list.

Closing date: Friday, 3 June 2016

Which should be a good thing – but sometimes it isn’t. Early learning is crucial preparation for school. And yet, every year, over a million 3-5 year olds are not exposed to early learning programmes. To turn this around, SmartStart has developed a pragmatic, low-cost solution to rapidly expand access to quality early learning. The SmartStart solution works through playgroups and child-minding programmes, and supports a national network of practitioners to deliver these services effectively.

SmartStart’s aim is to deliver quality early learning to one million 3-4 year olds annually by 2025. Our short term goal is to reach 60 000 children per year by 2018.

Set up as a non-commercial social franchise, SmartStart provides a dynamic brand; a successful tried-and-tested model; standardised processes and systems; high quality training and materials; and a network of support for implementation. In addition to this, we have investor support for management and programme delivery.

We’re looking for new franchisors to enable rapid scale up delivery of the SmartStart early learning social franchise.

We are specifically looking for partners and organisations who:

  • Share our passion for, and commitment to, expanded access to early learning;
  • Have the ability to recruit, train and coach approximately 300-400 franchisees who will establish community-based playgroups and childminding programmes;
  • Have organisational systems and processes that can support delivery at scale;
  • Have strong relationships with government and/or can secure agreements with government (including municipal agreements) that would enable financing of stipends for newly established early learning facilitators; and  
  • Have the skills and experience to establish and manage a network of clubs.

While SmartStart has core funding secured, we are particularly looking for partners who can leverage relationships for the financing of start-up stipends for the franchisees.

Successful applicants will need to commit to:

  • Delivering the standardised SmartStart programme (which includes our curriculum, licensing process, and network of clubs structure and which has associated standards and operating procedures)
  • Working within the SmartStart defined budget parameters
  • Driving and endorsing the SmartStart brand and programme alongside one’s own organisational brand
  • Devoting time and organisational resources to regular review and reflection of the SmartStart model, to ensure continuous innovation and programme quality

This is a three-phased call for applications. In this first phase, interested parties are invited to complete an application form (click here to download) that details the following:

  1. Your capacity to recruit large numbers of unemployed people; assess their suitability for running early learning programmes; train them in the SmartStart curriculum; and coach and support them to ensure consistent, high quality implementation and sustainable enterprises.
  2. Your current relationships with relevant government departments and your ability to source grants for franchisees from CWP, EPWP and other appropriate grant or subsidy systems.
  3. Your capacity to organise the franchisees into a network of clubs, ensuring mutual accountability and support through the club system.

In the second phase, shortlisted candidates will be invited to a briefing on SmartStart, which will include the SmartStart objectives, targets and early learning practice. Interested parties will be required to go through a basic due diligence assessment.

In the third and final phase, organisations will be requested to submit a business plan, budget and project plan before an agreement with SmartStart is signed.

Experience in ECD or early learning is a useful, but not necessary requirement for qualifying as a franchisor.

Please send your completed EOI, using the attached application form, to proposal@smartstart.org.za

Get involved! Find out more

To find out more about SmartStart and how you can get involved, contact the SmartStart office on 010 595 3902 or email us at hello@smartstart.org.za.