Is owning your own ECEC service in Canberra your dream? Explore & Develop can support you to achieve this
The Sector > Jobs Tips and Resources > Is owning your own ECEC service in Canberra your dream? Explore & Develop can support you to achieve this

Is owning your own ECEC service in Canberra your dream? Explore & Develop can support you to achieve this

by Freya Lucas

October 18, 2022

Many of those who have experience in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector have an interest in one day owning and managing their own service, but may feel unsure about how to get started or what is involved.


Long standing and respected ECEC provider Explore & Develop has supported many passionate people to successfully set up and run ECEC services in NSW over the past 16 years and now have an exciting opportunity for an interested party to open their first service in the ACT.


Explore & Develop understand that having access to finance to open a service can be the biggest barrier for those currently working in the ECEC sector to fulfil their dream.

That’s why Explore & Develop is excited about the opportunity to facilitate their first Franchisee in the ACT market, with a fully fitted out and furnished service at half the normal cost of opening a service.


The ECEC service in the southern suburbs of Canberra will open in 2023 and the provider is looking for the right franchise partner who has had previous experience as a Director or in a similar senior leadership role to join their group.


Explore & Develop is a boutique early childhood education and care operator, who have just secured an existing, fully fitted out service in Canberra, which is available for immediate purchase.  Additionally, Explore & Develop is exploring opportunities within a two-hour radius of Sydney.


Using a franchise model allows new service owners to have the best of both worlds. They have the freedom to shape the identity of their service and create their own learning environments, while also having access to an established business model and a well known and respected brand. 


Is there a demand for ECEC?


Operating an Explore & Develop franchise helps address the demand for education and care, particularly for the 9 million people (around 35 per cent of the national population) who live in areas where ECEC is in short supply. 


This includes 1.1 million Australians who live in neighbourhoods where there is no childcare available at all. It’s a sector in high demand in key areas of Australia and is experiencing strong business growth.


The ECEC sector in Australia is valued at over $13.7 billion and employs over 193,000 people. It has grown at an average rate of 2.1 per cent over the past five years and is expected to grow by a further 2.8 per cent in 2022. 


Will ECEC continue to grow in the future? 


The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates a 9.9 per cent increase in the number of children aged under three by 2024, making it the fastest-growing proportion of the population.


The Federal Government is continuing to invest more in the sector in the form of childcare subsidy and incentives to Australian families, to encourage more family participation and to provide greater employment opportunities for all.  


Why choose Explore & Develop? 


Explore & Develop was co-founded by Jenny and Stephen Mays and Alan Grant in 2005. The Mays’ have more than 20 years experience in ECEC, while Mr Grant is a successful businessman who created the Lollipop’s Playland Group and more recently co-founded Lollipop’s Educare in New Zealand. 


Explore & Develop Penrith recently won national recognition in the prestigious 2022 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards for their leadership and innovation in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young children through the Key Resilience, Mental Health and Trauma’ program.


Creating caring and nurturing environments is a core commitment of Explore & Develop, who believe that children develop at their own rate and in their own time. This is why the daily programs offer a calm, relaxed and unrushed environment for growing and learning.


“We help children reach their full potential by providing enriching, meaningful and real opportunities for learning and development through emergent educational programs,” Jenny Mays said. “That’s the Explore & Develop way.”


The Explore & Develop franchise business model helps people with a passion for the early childhood education sector to be hands-on owner operators and develop and support a team of highly qualified educators to nurture children’s potential. 


Explore & Develop has achieved an ‘Exceeding’ rating for a significant number of its 26 services from the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA).


“Unlike the stand-alone and corporate operators, the Explore & Develop franchise business model provides the rare combination of a personalised early childhood education and care experience that is supported by strong sector knowledge,” Jenny Mays noted.


How does being a franchisee work?


As an Explore & Develop franchise owner, the service trades under the Explore & Develop brand, and owners have access to: 


  • professional training, 
  • the opportunity to participate in network franchise cluster meetings, 
  • ongoing support and advice from their own operations manager. 


Owners are also able to utilise Explore & Develop’s comprehensive intellectual property, resources, and ideas. 


Each Explore & Develop franchisee has a dedicated operations manager who has extensive experience in the sector and is available to guide and support the franchisee and their team. Additionally, a commercial team is on hand to assist owners in property searching, lease negotiations, financial budgeting, and marketing. 


“As an Explore & Develop franchisee, you will be able to focus on managing and supporting your teams and the needs of children and their families while the operations managers and support office ensure that your service is fully compliant with regulatory requirements,” Jenny Mays said. 

Merran Bardsley, Director/Approved Provider of Explore & Develop Baulkham Hills said: “The Explore & Develop Support Office team has shown a huge commitment to ensuring I feel supported and informed through our start-up phase. From initial consultation right through to site sourcing and construction, they have not missed one thing to ensure we are successful in this process. The Support Office staff are clearly experts in their field and have such a genuine relationship with their Franchisees.”

What makes a successful franchisee? 


Aside from having a passion for, and commitment to the sector, there are a few key attributes which help ECEC professionals to make the jump to being successful franchise owners, Jenny Mays explained. 


Franchise owners need to be willing to work full time on their business to establish a high-quality service and ensure its success. 


They need to be strong people managers, with proven leadership and communication skills, willing and able to “lead from the front.” 


“You will also possess sound business acumen and understand the essential principles, practices and management processes required to ensure the profitability and success of your own service,” Jenny Mays said. 


Although the ECEC labour market is tight, Explore & Develop educators say that they feel well supported, respected and motivated to achieve, thanks in no small part to the ongoing professional development and training opportunities offered regularly from the Explore & Develop support office, made possible by franchisee investment. 


The training opportunities offered to educators include webinars, face to face learning conducted by sector professionals such as Semann and Slattery, leadership programs, Nominated Supervisor and Educational Leader Forums and a yearly Explore & Develop Gala Evening.

“Over the years, I have attended several professional development courses, including centre-based training with the team, webinars and conferences in Sydney, Darwin and Melbourne where I was inspired to learn new skills, have a better understanding of children’s development and reflect on my philosophy,” Margy Austin, Nominated Supervisor for Explore & Develop Frenchs Forest said.

What are the next steps to becoming a franchisee? 


To be considered for one of the Explore & Develop franchise opportunities in Newcastle or Canberra, please complete the enquiry form


Just image, you could be close to fulfilling your dream in 2023.


If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Explore & Develop Commercial Team directly on (02) 9451 0489 and they will be happy to answer your questions and guide you through the franchisee shortlisting process.

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