In just 18 months, the People’s Stokvel, a group-savings scheme that invests in small businesses, managed to collect its first R1m from ordinary South Africans saving just R100 per person each month.

This is no ordinary stokvel, where the bank that offers the highest interest rate will get to be the custodian of these savings. Instead, the money remains in the community, filling a lending gap that exists because banks deem some small businesses too risky to bet their depositors’ money on. The People’s Stokvel is a modern crowd-funding initiative that pools big sums of money, but it also contributes to the pool of savings that go unaccounted for in SA’s financial system.

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