Africa Early childhood development
By Ursula Campbell and Michelle Sprackett

By Ursula Campbell and Michelle Sprackett

Education Start Up


The lack of sufficient functional Early Childhood Development centres has been identified as one of the key challenges facing South Africa, severely impacting the readiness of children entering primary school. ECD centres in under-resourced areas are often run by passionate women living in the community with very little, if any, training in running a business and nor a curriculum and educational tools. These women struggle to access grant funding due to the burdensome regulatory requirements for NGOs, both when applying for funding as well as tracking expenses. Parents are often unable to pay school fees, leaving the ECD centre severely underfunded.


Collaborate Consulting was approached to work together with a tech business, specialising in solving societal issues using technology, to conceptualise and establish a business aimed at addressing the many challenges in the ECD ecosystem. The initiative was funded by a large South African financial services institution with a passion for education.

Collaborate Consulting conducted extensive research in order to understand the systemic challenges being faced in the ECD sector and identified and appointed specialist partners to form a highly effective multidisciplinary team. These included education, consumer research, brand and UX experts as well as software developers.

Collaborate Consulting’s core focus was the development of the overall strategy, business model, operating model and financial model for the start up. Once funding was approved, they were responsible for the programme management of the initiative and the specialist team members over an 18 month period, from initial concept development to implementation and the handover to a permanent team.

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