Grace Matlhape


Big Idea: 
Home-based preschool businesses in South Africa.

Early childhood education is the foundation for a kid's future learning and earning. SmartStart gets pre-school kids in South Africa ready and eager to enter the formal education system. They recruit, train, and support unemployed women to set up accredited micro-enterprises that run “playgroups” from their homes. These small playgroups use a fun, evidence-based curriculum that sets kids up for success in school. SmartStart markets the playgroups to parents (affordable daycare plus learning!) and links the micro-entrepreneur women into an education community that keeps them growing their businesses.

Grace has deep experience in social impact. Before SmartStart she was the CEO of LoveLife - an organization that worked on the high rate of HIV infections among young people in South Africa, and she has also worked in mental health and psycho-social support too.  She is a qualified social worker and holds a Masters in Business Management from the University of Johannesburg.

Rainer Arnhold Fellows