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111 – 113 Oxford Road
Saxonwold, Johannesburg 2196

+27 (0)11 268 5959

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What is SmartStart?

  • SmartStart is a national social franchise that aims to bring quality early learning to one million children aged 3 and 4 years old
  • It will do this through a country-wide network of licensed facilitators who are equipped to implement a high-quality, standardised early learning programme
  • Licensed SmartStart facilitators will belong to local clubs and will be supported by club leaders and a club coach
  • The SmartStart programme reinforces the role of parents (and caregivers) at the centre of their child’s development
  • It also highlights the importance of play as the most successful way in which children learn, grow and develop
  • The programme can be implemented in many different settings, including in playgroups, day mother programmes and ECD centres

Why is EARLY LEARNING important?

  • Children who attend some kind of early learning programme before they go to school do much better at school and also in life
  • These children grow up to be teenagers who don’t drop out of school, they become adults with fewer emotional problems, they become adults who earn more money, they become people who have the power to succeed
  • These are the changes in society that SmartStart would like to contribute to
  • To achieve this kind of success, the learning that happens in a SmartStart programme needs to be reinforced and encouraged in the home
  • SmartStart actively includes parents and communities in the running of its early learning programmes – parents are provided with some ideas and resources to continue learning activities with their children at home

What is the opportunity that SmartStart is offering?

  • SmartStart is providing an opportunity for women (men are also welcome) to become licensed SmartStart facilitators (also known as franchisees or SmartStarters) who run high quality early learning programmes for 3 and 4 year old children in their community
  • Depending on the setting, a licensed facilitator may be able to access a government start-up stipend and/or charge fees to parents/caregivers
  • As a licensed facilitator, you join local SmartStart clubs where you are supported by SmartStart coaches and club leaders
  • SmartStart activates and supports clubs in all areas in which it operates
  • In return, SmartStart provides training and support to run these early learning programmes, as well as some of the resources that are needed to facilitate children’s learning

How do you apply and become a SmartStart franchisee?

  • Anyone who has a minimum of grade 9 or three years’ experience working with young children, and is above 18 years old can apply
  • You also need to be self-motivated and love working with children
  • Once you have submitted an application form, there are a number of steps you need to take to become a SmartStart franchisee. This includes: completing an assessment process, a community task, and 5 days of training as well as finding a venue and children for your early learning programme
  • SmartStart also requires that franchisees have police clearance and clearance in terms of the National Child Protection register, organized by SmartStart as part of the recruitment process

What does it mean to be a SmartStart franchisee?


  • In addition to being a self-starter and highly motivated, a SmartStart franchisee has 6 important behaviours and qualities – she is playful, curious, self-controlled, kind, confident and imaginative
  • These are the qualities and behaviours that we want to encourage and develop in SmartStart children
  • As a licensed facililtator, your work is to run the SmartStart programme on a daily basis with 3 and 4 year old children, supporting them to learn and develop to their full potential
  • It is not an easy job but a very rewarding one. You need to plan and organize activities for children every day, arrive on time, and play, tell stories and care for the children in your care. You will also need to work closely with the parents, and ensure that you keep your practice up to standard and take part in yearly licence renewal assessment
  • As a franchisee, you are neither a volunteer nor an employee. Instead you are joining the SmartStart network and signing up to implement the SmartStart method and practice. Through government partnerships at a local and provincial level, you will be able to access a government start-up stipend and/or fees from parents

Will franchisees earn an income for doing this work?


  • SmartStart provides an opportunity for you to generate your own income through fees from parent and, once these partnerships have been established, to possibly access government grants and start-up stipends
  • SmartStart is therefore actively pursuing partnerships and opportunities that will unlock financing for ECD but there are no guarantees


Where does SmartStart operate?

  • SmartStart is currently operating in all 9 provinces.


How do you apply?

To apply you can go to or call 011 268 5959. For more information you can contact the Regional Franchisor in your area or email SmartStart on

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