A South Australian businesswoman is helping nurture a new franchise globally with the aim of providing much-needed out-of-school-hours care for children of working parents.
Sherpa Kids (formerly known as Safe Kids in Daily Supervision – or sKids) was launched in Australia last year by Vicki Prout to provide in-school care for primary students before and after school and during holiday periods.
Ms Prout, who is also director of franchising consultancy Sherpa Group, has already grown Sherpa Kids to six franchises across Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and SA.
Now, in alliance with her business partners in New Zealand where the sKids concept originated in 1996, Ms Prout has just helped expand the business into Europe following a landmark deal to sell the master franchise rights in the UK.
“Parents and particularly mums are under increasing pressure to remain in the workforce while raising their kids, which is driving growing demand for safe and engaging out-of-school-hours care for young children,” said Ms Prout, a former Navy officer who has since become a four-time winner of the Franchise Council of Australia’s SA Franchise Woman of the Year.
“Schools are also desperate for before and after school services like this where fully trained supervisors come onto school grounds and conduct fun, learning-based programs for young kids outside of normal hours.
“In less than 12 months we’ve already attracted six franchises in four Australian states and expect to double that figure this year as demand builds.
“We also have firm goals to expand the business internationally so to already confirm a major franchise deal in the UK is a huge milestone and certainly very exciting for the entire Sherpa Kids organisation.”