Growing a chain of high-quality early learning centres in disadvantaged communities

GROW Educare Centre opens more social-franchisee opportunities to support ECD business owners in developing communities

As Government proceeds to initiate the process in which all South African children will be enrolled in a two-year compulsory Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme before entering Grade 1, numerous under-resourced and underfunded early learning centres across the country currently require support to ensure their sustainability.

grow educare centres social franchise ecd south africa

In a country where unemployment, poverty and low-quality education has the potential to perpetuate inequality, innovative methodologies need to be applied that will turn these challenges into opportunities for business creation, sustainable employment, access to quality education and equal opportunities for young children.

Early Childhood Development (ECD) is one of South Africa’s biggest challenges as many education centres in disadvantaged South African communities are simply not sufficiently equipped, well-trained, adequately resourced, professionally managed or supported to ensure that the young children in their care receive quality education most critical to their educational, social and emotional development.

High-quality ECD education is also crucial to a child’s brain development. It creates the foundation for school readiness, improves a country’s economic viability by supporting working families and results in proven lifelong gains for the child and their future families.

Children who don’t have access to high quality early learning are being left behind, perpetuating South Africa’s endemic inequality.

Local non-profit organisation, GROW Educare Centres,is a social enterprise that’s helping ECD Centres in low-income areas through social-franchising partnerships and setting them up for success as sustainable businesses.

Empowering educare centres to deliver exceptional education

Managing an ECD centre is a complex business and the GROW Educare Centres social franchise model invests in local entrepreneurs/franchisees who already run creches and provide them with the necessary tools, processes and ongoing support needed to deliver five-star early learning for preschool children aged between two and five years.

tracey chambers ceo grow educare centres social enterprise ecd
“We care deeply about ensuring that children from underprivileged communities receive the best education in their most crucial years. We also understand that the only way quality can be maintained is if centres are financially sustainable, accessible, supportive of job creation and teachers are paid what they’re worth,” says Tracey Chambers, CEO for GROW Educare Centres.


She adds: “We provide women who have a heart for children and head for business with a complete recipe for ECD success. Our proven franchise model significantly improves the educational outcomes for children and ensures that each business owner can run a professional and financially viable business.”

Already in January this year, 15 new GROW Educare Centres franchises across Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Pietermaritzburg opened their doors after months of preparation and support including infrastructure upgrades and teacher training.

Social-franchising that ensures quality education is maintained at scale

With 44 centres situated nationwide, the GROW Educare Centres organisation is currently helping over 1720 children in 89 classrooms grow and learn every day, while supporting more than 220 jobs in education.

“Most owners of educare centres in low-income areas find it challenging to access training, resources, a proper curriculum, and meet registration requirements, all with very limited business experience. Social-franchising solves all of these problems and can be replicated at scale,” adds Chambers.

To achieve socially beneficial ends such as poverty relief and job creation, social-franchising adapts the proven principles of the traditional business network model of franchising to suit the needs of small businesses in low-income communities.

Applications for new ECD franchises now open

In building a recognised and aspirational brand of professionally run and impactful ECD centres, GROW Educare Centres are expanding nationally and calling on creche, educare and ECD centre owners in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg to come onboard.

“We look forward to hearing from motivated applicants who’d like to make a difference in early childhood development and want to be leaders and role models in their communities,” says Chambers.

She concludes; “We want to help ECD centre owners achieve success in education and business as both quality early learning as well as job creation are key to eradicating poverty in our country. By working together, as partners we’ve been able to help centres across South Africa enhance their offering in education drastically, while also making education accessible in developing neighbourhoods.”

Applications close on 29 February 2020.