SmartStart Ensuring access to high-quality early learning programs

One million children in low-income communities in South Africa do not have access to   quality early learning programs, which have proven to play an integral role in a child’s social, academic and emotional development. SmartStart is a South African non-profit organization which has developed an innovative social franchise model to introduce or upgrade early education in local communities. By efficiently partnering with other NGOs to scale up the recruitment and training of local women as micro-entrepreneurs, SmartStart has become a leader in creating new opportunities for children by supporting women – and, in turn, improving the long-term prospects for both.

SmartSart, Community worker
SmartStart Logo

Our commitment  

We have invested in SmartStart as part of LGT Venture Philanthropy’s education strategy to address the ECD gap among low-income populations in South Africa. We provide comprehensive support across three areas:


Business expertise 

  • Strategy development, leadership recruitment and provision of Covid emergency relief funding 
  • Strategic support through board engagement 


  • Thought partner in ongoing refinement of 5-year strategy, including 2023 implementation plan and budget 
  • Build-up of additional leadership capacity within the organization 


  • Hiring and funding of key staff 

In 2022

  • 58 688

    children active

  • 9 014

    franchisees active

  • 14

    Early Childhood Development service providers

SmartStart, Following Fezeka_ A day in the life of a SmartStart child


Following Fezeka: A day in the life of a SmartStart child

Partnering with LGT Venture Philanthropy to close the funding gap enables SmartStart to be the delivery platform that brings systems change for universal access to early learning.

Nomsa Mutaphuli COO
Nomsa Mutaphuli

For more information

Learn more about how SmartStart works in the field

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