The year 2017 was an exciting year in the fintech space in South Africa – and indeed, across the world – with some exciting developments taking place. Perhaps one of the most exciting, close to home, was the recent announcement by well-known Facebook Group, BrownSense (a group of over 100 000-strong known for propagating black business solidarity in South Africa), of its plans to launch a black-owned banking operation. The focus of this bank will be to fund small to medium-sized, black-owned enterprises – a unique angle and much-needed driver for economic growth and empowerment in our country.
BrownSense founder, Mzuzukile Soni, says that the BrownSense platform can be leveraged to start a Stokvel-type operation – a financial cooperative – which could go on to become a bigger financial movement. “We could start applying for the ultimate dream of this group: a black bank run by the people,” he says.
With such a sizable following, it is within its scope for BrownSense to amass over R1 billion in capital over the next five years. The announcement was initially made in November via a Facebook post on the group, and which invited members to invest in black-owned businesses. “Basically, we all contribute R100 a month after paying a R100 joining fee. The proceeds will then be used to buy assets that will be collectively owned by Brownies from The People’s Fund.”
The focus of this bank will be to fund small to medium-sized, black-owned enterprises – a unique angle and much-needed driver for economic growth and empowerment in our country.
The post went on to explain how a monthly evaluation of the campaigns would take place, with a view to acquiring the most assets, and that the proceeds of these assets would be kept for recapitalisation over the next five years. All contributions to the stokvel would be tied in for these five years and can be paid either as R100 minimum monthly contribution, or R1 200 per annum, or in a lump sum of R6 000 for the entire five-year period. If you do the maths, this could easily potentiate the financing of assets worth R10 million on The People’s Fund per month.
What about the means of managing these transactions? This is where the collaborative effort of the group with the rising star of stokvel management apps, StokFella, comes into play.
The StokFella app was nominated as one of the Top 100 fintech apps in Africa for the second time in a row in 2017, and is going from strength to strength. More and more South Africans in the stokvel space are registering to use it and either joining stokvel clubs or starting clubs of their own. The BrownSense post explained how the synergy between BrownSense, The People’s Fund and StokFella would work: “All of this [meaning the transactions] will be done on the StokFella app, which is also available as a .mobi site. Stokfella, a 100% Brownie owned business, is a registered FSB provider with FSB number 48812 and is really easy to use.”
For added peace of mind for members, BrownSense went on to emphasise that “…all businesses on The People’s Fund are audited by SNB Chartered Accountants & Auditors (Practice Number 966205), a 100% Brownie owned auditing firm.” This is not the only reason for BrownSense members and other potential stokvel investors to get excited, though – StokFella also facilitates for complete transparency among members, making trust relationships and that all-important peace of mind a top priority for its users.
If you’d like to get involved, simply visit www.stokfella.mobi and register. The friendly team will assist if you need help and you, too, can play your part in promoting black economic empowerment in our country, while learning how wealth-building can be made simple in your personal capacity.