Organization Name: SmartStart

Focus Area: Littlest Learners
Region: Africa
Sector: Non-Profit
Investment Year: 2018
SmartStart offers affordable and high-quality early learning opportunities to tens of thousands of children across South Africa. They provide a systems solution to the challenge of delivering early learning at scale through a social franchise model of implementing partners, who license and support a network of early learning practitioners to deliver the same evidence-based program. SmartStart not only ensures that children have the right foundations in place to succeed at school and beyond, but also supports skills development and micro-enterprise, enabling more women to work.

Why We Invested

42% of three to five year-olds in the poorest 40% of households in South Africa do not attend early learning programs compared to 17% of those in the richest 20% of households. Further, solely using a center-based model will not enable universal access to quality ECD within the next 30 years in South Africa.With an aim to improve access to quality early childhood development services to all children, SmartStart's social franchise model provides ECD services through a decentralized model, creating a tremendous opportunity for scale and impact.