For generations, community-driven stokvels have met the money needs of their members by opening access to funding for everything from funerals to school fees. However, although the schemes provide regular paydays, they do not build wealth. It’s a problem that required a new view, a digital face and an entrepreneurial spirit to bring traditional stokvels up to date.
Recently, all three requirements for this transformation of the traditional into modern methods, came together when mining engineer turned banker, Tshepo Moloi, realised that things could be different and began working on an app named Stokfella. The app went on to win the Best Financial Solution section of the 2020 MTN Business App of the Year Award and is now attracting a new generation of stokvel savers.
The key to the app’s success has been digitally based options that ease the administrative burden of their traditional community-based schemes and offer business-focused investment options and benefits.
“Stokfella was my first socially-based developmental challenge. My thinking was that although the stokvel concept had been meeting peoples’ needs for years, it could work better. With my engineering background, I realised that I could build processes around stokvel operations and then, using my banking experience, marry the processes to a financially efficient model.”
– Tshepo Moloi
As a digital platform, it addresses a younger generation of savers (average age about 35 years old) and investors who are comfortable with the stokvel traditions but want to accumulate funds and build future wealth.
“They want stokvels to work for them and open up investment opportunities by using accumulated funds from like-minded people to invest, in say, a property where they can benefit from the growth of property values and also through rentals.”
– Tshepo Moloi
People who have taken advantage of the Stokfella digital offering include existing stokvels who want to stick with the ‘old-way’ but wish to digitise their offerings to streamline administration, improve information flow, and an interactive base for members to communicate with their stokvels.
The success of updated, digital stokvels is demonstrated by the 30 000 people who now regularly use the platform and the millions of transactions that have been recorded since the app went live.
Stokfella may be small and focused now, says Moloi, but with more than eight million members, the stokvel industry offers boundless opportunities.
“The success of Stokfella proves that even time-honoured, traditional practices can be given new life. The success of this app demonstrates what has made the MTN Business App of the Year a developmental tool that has helped shape the way that thousands of South Africans get information and even invest.”
– Head of Marketing at MTN Business, Kholo Magagane
Entries for the 2021 MTN Business App of the Year Awards are being accepted until 16 August. Budding entrepreneurs, those launching start-ups and app-based products and services, therefore, still have time to enter the nation’s premier digital event offering prizes totalling R 1 million.
For the first time, the 2021 MTN Business App of the Year Awards will be offering students opportunities to compete in the Campus Cup and vie for R 100 000 in prize money.
In another first, the event is offering developers from across the continent to submit their locally developed offerings.
Full details of the categories available, deadlines for entries, the judging process and entry forms can be found on: