This article forms part of SME South Africa’s Township Entrepreneurship series. In the month of October we will explore the complexities, challenges and success stories of the township entrepreneurship ecosystem.
Township innovators and entrepreneurs are working to solve the challenges faced by township-based consumers, and are also taking advantage of opportunities presented by this market, which has been estimated to be worth billions of Rands.
In an interview with SME South Africa, techpreneur Tshepo Moloi touched on changing perceptions of township-based businesses as low tech. He made it his mission to change this with his financial management application for stokvels, Stokfella, which allows users to keep a record of all financial transactions.
“Perhaps this is the reason why this market has been neglected for so long. We have seen stokvels that one would consider low-tech, however, they have capable smartphones and are using apps daily.
“The challenge doesn’t lie in [the market] not being tech savvy, the challenge lies in how businesses can make the solutions not technically complicated. How do you as a techpreneur developing for a broad market make your solution easily palatable to your end user?”
Stokfella is not the only tech startup that’s succeeding in bringing tech into a market that has been largely ignored – below is a list of our favourite township-based apps.
Formed in 2015 but only launched in 2017. The Kasi Eats app helps township restaurants to market their menus and also manage food delivery orders.
A delivery solution for the smaller township players, they are currently in the beta phase and they aim to take it to all townships across South Africa.
This year’s Township Entrepreneurship Awards winners in the retail and finance category, the Vuleka app is changing how spaza shops in townships buy stock from the suppliers through the power of bulk purchase.
The app was founded by Brian Makwaiba and Oscar Monama who saw the opportunity to provide a holistic route to market solution for FMCG companies as well as spaza shop owners.
The taxi industry has been slow in adapting to innovation, the Khwela app hopes to play a role in making that industry more relevant and user friendly. It provides taxi commuters information including prices and routes. Its founder and CEO Skhona Khumalo aims to also incorporate a forum where commuters can discuss or notify each other of important taxi-related alerts such as taxi strikes.
The app is currently available on Google Play and iOS App Store.
Katleho Nyawuza’s Explore iKasi is a personal assistant app. It consolidates all township-based businesses, services, entertainment etc, for all locals or tourists to help them easily find their way around.
It is currently available for IOS and Android with over 300 businesses in different townships being listed.
StokFella is an online stokvel platform that makes it easier for stokvel clubs to manage their admin, monthly payments and claims via smartphone or website.
They also help stokvel clubs grow their savings through their investment channels.