It’s been a busy season of growth for the team at StokFella and there have been a number of highs, not least recently being named the winner of the Finovation 2018 award. While this acknowledgement is a tremendous achievement for the team, it would not have been possible without the support of its most important contributors: you. The men and women who belong to stokvel clubs across South Africa and who have used the method of collective saving to get ahead, just as your parents and grandparents did before you. The difference now is that you’re smarter, more tech-savvy and more aware than ever that time is money and so you make use of all the tools you can to save you time and energy and simplify the stress of modern living.
However, don’t take our word for it. The founder of the stokvel Ingcebo Women’s Investment Group recently shared her story with us. You may see yourself in her story:
The stokvel was founded in December 2017, says founder Silindile Lesenyane: “Our stokvel started last year in December when we had our first meeting, but we didn’t really get going until March this year. As black professionals and businesswomen, we realised the value of stokvels to change our economic futures. We decided to form this group to change the narrative of stokvels, which are usually for groceries or rotating income among members, and rather to use the stokvel as a means to create and preserve wealth through acquiring wealth-creating assets such as property.”
As black professionals and businesswomen, we realised the value of stokvels to change our economic futures.
One of the challenges you may have experienced with your stokvel is managing meetings, coordinating with one another’s schedules and staying on top of members’ contributions – especially if your members are spread out across a region. Silindile explains that this had also been one of their challenges: “We had been battling to get our stokvel going because of conflicting diaries and staying in different provinces, so we didn’t have the time to go to the branch to open a normal stokvel account, and therefore we couldn’t start making the contributions. One of our members started using the app when she joined the BrownSense stokvel. She saw how easy and convenient the app was to use and she recommended it to the members and we started using the app from there.”
Modern life is full of stress and challenges – particularly around time and particularly for women who often work and also manage children, school and home priorities. Silindile agrees: “As women we balance work, school and business priorities and since most of us are mothers as well, our time is really precious. We appreciate the options that are available to make monthly contributions via EFT, or at retail partners such as Pick n Pay and Checkers, where you can make your stokvel payment when you do your groceries run, or even directly on the app. You can log on to the app and you can see how much you owe, you can view the statement and details about the next meeting. If you don’t want to log on to the app you also get alerts when there is activity on the group, for example, when a member makes a payment and the very cheeky reminders that are sent to all the members when a member hasn’t paid their contribution.”
What benefits has the group experienced so far from going digital in its approach to stokvel management? Lesenyane says: “We started as a group of three friends and we battled to get going. Once we started using StokFella it created a transparency that we all appreciated. This enabled us to invite other friends and they saw that the stokvel was operating professionally and on a professional platform. We are now ten members and all the members are contributing regularly, and we exceeded our own expectations of how quickly the stokvel would grow. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve this had it not been for StokFella. The convenience of making payments, the availability of statements at the click of a button and the amazing support that we get when we contact the support team for any issues or queries are among the best features.”
Lesenyane recommends StokFella because of the transparency it creates among group members: “Stokvels are all about trust and StokFella helps as one can’t be too careful these days. Stokfella creates transparency in that you always know what’s going on with the funds in the group as all members get a notification when a member tries to take the funds out. If you want to take your stokvel to the next level, then you have to use StokFella. The technology is there to make life easy for you, there is no need to go to the bank for anything as everything is done on the app.”
Every stokvel has a long-term vision and strategy and Silindile’s group is no different. You need to know where you’re going with your group saving in order to reach your goals. Silindile says that the app is going to be a strategic partner for them for the managing of the admin and finances of their group well into the future. “We will continue to use the platform to raise the funds that we need in order to build our property portfolio that will create wealth for us and our families.”
If you would like to try StokFella, download it on the Google Play store or the App store or simply visit www.stokfella.com for more information.