New Kids On The Block: Sherpa Kids

Sherpa Kids ready to bring quality after-school care to a market in need.

New Kids On The Block: Sherpa Kids

Vital Stats

  • Company: Sherpa Kids
  • Est: 1996
  • Brought to SA: November 2013
  • Contact: +27 (0)11 792 4679
  • Visit:

What is it?

Sherpa Kids is a franchised out of school hours care (OSHC) service founded by ex-South African Dawn Engelbrecht, in New Zealand 1996. It operates in over 150 schools in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and has arrived in South Africa.

“Unlike traditional after-care services that schools run because they have to, the Sherpa Kids programme allows schools to outsource the responsibility and provides a stimulating, engaging, fun and educational child-care environment that complies with an internationally benchmarked after-care curriculum,” says South African master franchisor and MD, Genevieve Allen.

About the franchisor

Allen has over 20 years’ experience in the education sector having been MD for two Advtech Group brands, and a member of the group’s executive committee.

“I took a sabbatical that included studying my Masters in Business Innovation, and an assignment got me researching education innovation. That’s how I found Sherpa Kids in Australia.”

Allen saw a gap in the market locally for quality OSHC. “Many working parents need after-care services but don’t really have a choice in the quality. Many schools have to provide aftercare but are over burdened and under resourced. I realised the opportunity for Sherpa Kids in SA,” says Allen.

Sherpa Kids and schools


Sherpa Kids officially launched in SA in November 2013. Sherpa Kids offers before-school care (including a breakfast club); after-care for homework supervision and engaging structured activities; and holiday care and stimulation.

“Our pilot sites will be operating from the April holidays as it’s a time of great demand from schools, and we have a number of franchisees in the pipeline.”

What’s more, the model is scalable. “This can be, but isn’t restricted to being a single site, owner-operated type of business. Depending on career goals, a franchisee can run OSHC at a cluster of primary schools in their area provided they have qualified staff supervising children.”

Ideal franchisees

“There are many teachers and retired teachers attracted to franchising because of its structure and don’t feel like they’re running a business on their own. Sherpa Kids is also an ideal flexible, part-time business.”

Franchisees must have passion for working with children, blended with strong business and customer acumen. Sherpa Kids suits professionals with childhood development/social work/child psychology backgrounds.

Provided Sherpa Kids centre managers are qualified in education or childcare, and the assistants skilled (graduates or final year students), franchisees needn’t be education professionals.

Sherpa Kids assists franchisees with:

  • Development of territory and broad business plan
  • Training and ongoing support during and after start-up
  • Franchisee guidance with activities and planning.

Benefits of the model:

  • Low barrier to entry and customizable
  • No rent or lease agreements for existing schools’ facilities
  • Franchisor assists with school proposals
  • No direct competition.

Investment Capital

  • Initial capital: R100 000 incl. Vat
  • Start-up capital: R80 000
  • Unencumbered: 50%
  • Franchise fees: 11% of TO
  • Marketing fees: 2% of TO
  • Hotspots for development: Areas with good model-C primary schools.
Tracy Lee Nicol
About the Author
Tracy-Lee Nicol is the managing editor of Franchise Zone Magazine and deputy editor of Entrepreneur Magazine. She studied her Masters degree in Art History and Visual Culture at Rhodes University and spent the next two years working and travelling in Asia. Her love of people, business and teaching is reflected in telling the stories of entrepreneurs, franchisees and franchisors, inspiring others to take the leap to being their own boss and bringing about positive change in South Africa.

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