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We empower qualified, passionate women to own and run successful high quality ECD centres in low-income communities through our proven social franchise model.

OverviewWe empower qualified, passionate women to own and run successful high quality ECD centres in low-income communities through our proven social franchise model.

Our History

In 2014 GROW Educare Centres launched. The initiative was born from a deep desire among a group of social entrepreneurs to address the lack of access to quality early childhood development (ECD) education in marginalised communities in South Africa. GROW Educare Centres is a collaborative partnership between The Clothing Bank and Grow Learning Company. We believe that providing quality ECD education to the majority of South African children has the potential to change the future of South Africa for good.

GROW Educare Centres is a non-profit social enterprise. We use a proven recipe for success to equip women to run 5 Star Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres that are also financially sustainable businesses.

 We believe that:

  1. excellent preschool education should be accessible and affordable in every neighbourhood.
  2. qualified teachers and centre owners should be paid fairly.

That’s why we are changing the status quo in the ECD sector by partnering with ECD owners to offer quality and professionalism that under-resourced communities have never seen before.

We have developed and tested a recipe for success (a social-franchise operating model) which is proven to improve education and business outcomes in early learning centres. This model has been successfully replicated to 43 centres in four cities across South Africa and is available to ECD Centres through our 5 Steps to 5-Star Journey.

We believe that ECD centres in disadvantaged communities should be able to provide children with the quality learning they need to set them up for success while also providing sustainable jobs for educators.

Each educare centre we partner with is fully equipped to ensure that every aspect of the business is managed professionally.

Uniquely, right from the start, we held in a grand vision of creating a model that could scale and be replicated in every neighbourhood. That’s why we use the principles of franchising in a non-profit context to create a proven business model that we can share with ECD owners.

We kept testing this model until we could prove that GROW’s recipe for success empowers female business owners of ECD centres to be capable and confident to run independent, sustainable businesses and become true community champions for education. Our initiative equips women to have a sustainable livelihood by giving her access to viable economic activities.

To achieve profound transformation and empowerment, we have designed a social-franchise model, which is a simple, replicable business model for ECD.

Read more about the model and how it works here.

In 2014 we opened our first centres in Langa, Cape Town and by 2017 we launched in Durban. Thanks to the generous support of local and international funders and partners, we have been able to continually test, refine and improve our model to ensure it delivers a holistic solution and is, crucially, scalable.

In 2019 we opened our first four ECD centres in Johannesburg. We also started developing the technology to equip our programme and our ECD partners to manage their preschools from the palm of their hand.

In 2020 we launched on data-free online learning programme for teachers as well as our comprehensive ECD management system and mobile app. At the same time, COVID-19 flooded into South Africa, and we needed to support our 43 ECD centres through the COVID-19 crisis. During this process we realised that many more ECD centres need our support and that our technology could benefit the sector as a whole. We had to find a way to reach more ECD centres faster without compromising on the quality of our service.

What does the future hold?

In 2021 we will launch our 5 Steps to 5-Star model which allows more ECD centres to join the GROW programme faster, givens them access to our technology, tools and support, and allows them to progress at their own pace. We’ll keep growing and learning and serving until quality early learning education becomes a reality for all the children of South Africa.



A 5-Star Early Learning Centre that unlocks human potential in every neighbourhood.


We achieve our vision by:

  • Creating an ecosystem for ECDs that ensure children receive high quality early learning.
  • Scaling our model using social-franchising to become an internationally recognised and trusted ECD brand.
  • Mentoring ECD owners to run professional, sustainable businesses.
  • Equipping ECD practitioners with a complete toolkit plus the recipe for success.
  • Developing innovative tools and solutions that supports the ecosystem.
  • Engaging parents and communities to advocate for quality early learning.





BBBEE and tax benefits

We can offer companies significant points on their Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment scorecard thanks to our focus on growing small, black-women-owned business and empowering the unemployed through skills development. Our programme directly supports the advance empowerment of black people through Socio-Economic Development (SED). Individuals also benefit from tax relief when they make financial donations.

  • SED (Socio-Economic Development) points
  • YES for Youth (we can host unemployed youth as teacher interns on your behalf)
  • Section 18A tax certificates
  • 100% black beneficiaries
  • 100% female beneficiaries

Company details:

GW Foundation NPC

NPO number 161-786NPO

PBO number 930048936