Vodafone & Tigo – I can't "Twi Kɔ” cos "Mi suro"

My hopes of winning over 10,000 GHC in cash are over. 
My crime? 
I don’t buy scratch cards.
Am I the only person feeling ripped off?
As a user of both Tigo and Vodafone services I feel their current scratch and win promotion doesn’t favor me. I believe there are others like me and thus the reason for my rant this morning.
Vodafone and Tigo have both launched a scratch and win promotion which is ongoing. Vodafone’s “Yee Twi Kɔ”and Tigo’s “Wo suro aaa wondi” are set up to get their customers buying airtime in the hope of winning a prize.
Unfortunately my chances at winning any of the attractive prizes, which often are in the form cash, is non existent because I do not purchase scratch cards to attain airtime. Either postpaid handles the airtime or it is transferred via mobile money or Express Pay.
Considering that the digital methods of accessing airtime exist and save the networks money, I find it difficult to understand why users who purchase airtime outside of scratch cards can’t participate in the promotion.
I feel that in a Ghana where a cashless society is being pushed by the banks and even the networks, that it is important to to level the playing field rather than make one method of accessing airtime superior.
The reward for scratching a card can win you over 10,000 GHC. Meanwhile purchasing airtime digitally just offers you convenience. If you ask me it seems as if both companies prefer customers buying scratch cards than purchasing airtime digitally.
I just think that both Tigo and Vodafone should come up with a scheme to allow their customers who purchase airtime digitally to benefit from the ongoing scratch and win promotion.
Post paid customers can be given tokens or sent at random, a digital ticket that puts them into a raffle to win one of the prizes. This can come with conditions such as early payment of bills. 
For those who purchase digitally, each time a purchase is made a digital ticket can be sent to the user to enter a raffle to stand the the chance of winning.
What do you think about my suggestion?
Stay winning and remember to always keep it One HONDRED!

Mobile Money Fund Raising in Church

How many of us have sat in church and witnessed fundraising turn into an auction? Starting at about 1000 GHC all the way to 1 GHC for a worthy cause. 
During this auction, members of the congregation usually walk up to either receive envelopes, to bring cash later or drop cheques or cash in baskets. One can describe this as a social class exercise, a status walk or the physical manifestation of the social ladder.
When I find myself in such situations I either give my contribution after church is done or give it to someone to drop in the basket for me. 
I am not here to discuss whether the cause for such funding is worthy. I am here to offer a proposition for conducting this exercise in a more covert manner.

Matthew 6:1 - Don't Do Good Deeds Publicly
Matthew 6:1 – Don’t Do Good Deeds Publicly

Matthew 6:1 emphasizes the need for us to go about doing good undercover. The goal is not for us to receive praise but for God to be celebrated for using us to do good. Churches should encourage such giving and have faith that the congregation will give. 
As mentioned in God Loves A Cheerful Giver, I believe mobile money technology provide churches a means to go about collecting money efficiently and offering convenience to its members. 
I personally feel that the advent of social media, email and the Internet provide churches a means of communication with their members that go beyond Sunday service. 
In my view, churches conduct fund raising on Sunday’s because they feel its the only time they can get memebers attention and money. Many pledges have gone unpaid for as a result of this notion.
Mobile money changes this narrative from a “Sunday only” venture to one that can be conducted anytime. It thus provokes churches to gather details of the members and visitors in order to continue communication after Sunday service.
To showcase the above in action let’s assume that a church on average has a thousand members. It’s trying to raise funds to assist in the paying of hospital bills for a members surgery which is estimated at 4000 GHC.
The church makes an announcement in church on Sunday appealing for funds and continues to engage the congregation via SMS, whatsapp, email and its social media platforms. 
The campaign is simple: 
Donate 2GHC or more to help pay for John Doe’s surgery of 4000 GHC.
Everyday the word should go out including a report of the current state of the fund raiser, informing members of how far their collective efforts have gone.
If half of the members give 2 GHC each week, that amounts to 4000 GHC after a month. This is less intimidating and allows the church to work collectively.
I don’t know about you but I am more than willing to give 2 GHC every week for a worthy cause. Unfortunately this opportunity is untapped and thousands of 2GHC are up for grabs each week without being claimed. The variables can be changed but I believe the message is clear.
Churches should utilize mobile money and digital marketing to enhance their activities. It’s the way things are done now and probably the way of the future. The earlier churches start the earlier they reap.
Keep it One HONDRED!

God Loves A Cheerful Giver

How many Ghanaian Christians would like to deposit their tithes and offering one time in church via mobile money?
I have been asking people this very question for a couple of weeks now and have received mixed responses. 
I have not conducted a wide enough survey to have conclusive results but my findings so far have revealed that Christians are more comfortable with tithes being transferred via mobile money than offering.
What is it about offering that makes people uncomfortable about transferring it digitally?
People feel something is missing when offering is transffered via a transaction. (Maybe a blessing is not received when money is sent over the phone.) 
Maybe there is a fear that people wouldn’t give money in church and lean on the “I sent it via mobile money” excuse.
In my opinion, the advent of mobile money provides churches with an opportunity to both make their congregation more generous and raise more funds.
I for one last month reserved a fixed amount of cash for offering and found that I gave more than the past months because I had planned for it. Previous months found me playing wheel of fortune with my offering amount. 
“Is it too small?” 
“I need to buy something after church so I can’t give that much”
“My money is finished so I can only give this amount”
This and many more are excuses I have made in the past due to my failure to plan for the month. As a result I end up not being a cheerful giver.

2nd Corinthians 9:6-7 MSG
2nd Corinthians 9:6-7 MSG

In 2nd Corinthians we are told about God’s view on giving. Whilst this is not specifically in an offering context it still applies. For the many blessings I received knowingly and unknowingly, I believe I owe the Lord a respectable token of appreciation in the form of an offering. In order for me not to disrespect that token I set it aside each month. 
Last month I was able to go through without needing to borrow from the offering account. I would like to however just set the money aside by transferring it into the churches account. Mobile money is preferred because it is more convenient.
So if my suggestion is implemented, will I stop giving offering at church?
 No. 
I however will view such offerings as top ups and will probably want to do it via the mobile money platform.
I must caution myself however that people may not view my not giving offering on Sunday kindly. Ghanaians in my view are very traditional in nature. (Even the idea of Bibles on smart devices do not appeal to some.)
Matthew 6:1
Matthew 6:1

The anonymity of mobile money is what appeals to me. Matthew 6 does a good job of giving us an idea of how God prefers we conduct our giving. Mobile money helps in this regard. Grace however is needed to carry one through a service amidst eyes that look to guilt trip or force you into throwing air into the offering basket to put your conscience and minds of onlookers at ease. 
(The hypocrisy that sometimes surrounds churches is staggering.)
Other benefits of conducting offerings via mobile moneyinclude:

  1. Security: offering sent via mobile money is not handled by ushers and there is a paper trail of transactions.
  2. Anytime Offering: Offerings can be given anytime and not restricted to Sunday.
  3. Environmental: Envelopes used for tithes and other offerings will be reduced thus saving envelopes expenditure and as a result reducing paper wastage.

So how many offerings should a church collect on Sunday? I for one believe in taking one offering at church and also not a fan of funds being raised during Sunday service. I will however speak on that tomorrow.
So as you keep it ONE HONDRED! What do you think about mobile money and church offering?

Mobile Money – The Future

I had the privilege of attending a presentation by Ebenezer Twum Asante, the CEO of MTN some weeks back on mobile money. Here are some of the highlights of the presentation that I want to bring to your attention:

  • 35% of airtime is bought through physical means. 65% through digital means.
  • MTN currently piloting near field technology .
  • Debit card/credit card will probably be needless in the future. 
  • Money may be retained in the space as opposed to cashing in and cashing out.
  • Mobile money alone is responsible for over 10% of deposits in the banking system.
  • Current research shows that the central bank should raise the limit allowed.
  • Transaction size growing including amount transacted.
  • Security is as safe as the banks.
  • Scams still major concern but mainly because of literacy level
  • Mobile money is better placed to handle money laundering since they are able to deal with it in real time. Alerts are sent once a transaction occurs that triggers suspicious activity. Central banks and security agencies are contacted in realtime. 

Makes me wonder why we are still using cheques.

(I just want to highlight that though this article is about mobile money, it’s not referring entirely to MTN. It involves the other networks as well. It’s just that MTN is privileged to have mobile money associated with its name.)
I started using mobile money actively in 2016. I had been registered but never saw the need to use it till I needed to pay someone and found it more convenient to use digital means.
Since then I have found it to be an excellent medium of moving money in Ghana and find it irritating that my bank hasn’t yet integrated it into their systems.
As a millennial, these developments are exciting because it breaks down the red tape associated with money transfer.
Ghana due to scams on credit cards and other fraudulent activities, have been sidelined and thus payment platforms such as PayPal are not easily accessible. This restricts e-commerce to a privileged few.
Mobile money is just the beginning of e-commerce in Ghana. Technology such as Slyde Pay and Express Pay facilitate everyday transactions at the touch of a button or screen expanding payment opportunities. 
Ghana is gradually moving towards a future where our smart phones become more than just communication devices. They will become our wallets, ticket or boarding pass holders and identity documents.
I foresee payroll being run on mobile money platforms soon. It may even be used as a means to provide credit since your service provider has an idea of your cellular history and a bit more. 
In this digital age where the future is uncertain, I urge businesses to begin adopting mobile money and e-commerce. That’s the future. With the way technology is moving I strongly believe that our laptops will shrink to become our cell phones. The power we hold now in our phones keeps growing. Hard drive space, processing power, camera specifications and more keep evolving each day. 
So let’s position ourselves for the future. I look forward to my church adopting mobile money for offerings 😬.
(I will definitely be blogging about mobile money in church. That will be such a hot topic)
Keep it One HONDRED!

Copy Cat Business

Copy Cat is a global term, popularly used to refer to plagiarism in Ghana. It is used where someone is caught utilizing copy and paste mechanisms or CTRL-C and CTRL-V for short 😁. It is usually confined to the academic arena but for lack of creativity, has creeped into our business sector.
(Why the cat has been tagged with this trait is unknown to me. I guess their sneaky and cheeky nature, won them the coveted title)
So here I was last night after work, going through my timeline on Facebook for news to ponder on, when I stumbled upon this post.

Owner of Calabash Brews complains  on Facebook about stolen concept
Calabash Brews Concept Stolen
My first reaction when I see posts of this nature, is to hear the other side of the story. Awuradwoa to prove her case attached photos of a post, marketing her business which was the same (ditto ditto – As we say in Ghana) as that of her competition in Cape Coast, Tintontin Brews. Here are the pictures.
Calabash Brew Marketing Post
Calabash Brew Marketing Post
Tintontin Brews Marketing Post
Tintontin Brews Marketing Post

To ensure that I was not drinking out of one calabash, I quickly searched for Tintontin Brews on Facebook to investigate the allegation made towards them. 
Their landing page had negative reviews from audiences familiar with Calabash Brews. (This is not looking good)
I compared their pictures and more importantly, the text used in the pictures above.
My verdict?
Tintontin Brews was indeed the copy cat.
I have no issue with the concepts being similar. I am a firm believer of “there is no new thing under the sun”. It all depends on who pulls it off best. 
Calabash Brews is not the first Ghanaian business or people, to introduce the concept of local drinks at events. The concept in it self is not unique. The same goes for the idea of calabashes and decor seen in the pictures. However, branding sets businesses with similar concepts apart.
MTN, Tigo, Airtel, Vodafone and Glo are all selling the same concept. They however go about it differently using colours and themes associated with them to set them apart. Even Airtel and Vodafone, both known for their distinct red colour, have clear differences. 
When mobile money touched the shores of Ghana, the networks seized the opportunity and added their unique names to the concept. No copy cats in this industry. (More like dogs chasing the same bone)
So I don’t have a problem with Tintontin Brews concept. The problem I have with them is their code of ethics. 
From the above posts, it is difficult to sway the perception that the intention by Tintontin Brews, was not to copy Calabash Brews and their branding (except for name of course).
If only they had changed the text used in the post above, I would have been writing in their defense instead.
It gets worse when Awuradwoa reveals, that the owners of Tintontin, called her and asked for the opportunity to expand in Cape Coast.
This is not behavior that is inspiring nor smart. It is not cool, wrong and should be frowned upon . Everyone is trying to make their mark out there. The least you can do is to add a twist to your concept so people can tell the difference. 
This is the same issue going on between Apple and Samsung and their devices. In this case though the culprit is caught red handed. 
I however like the idea of competition. Tintontin Brews should apologize and continue doing business. There is enough room in Ghana, Accra and Cape Coast for that matter for local beverage services to reap from. The repeat business of roasted plantain (Kofi Brokeman) sellers along the same street, is evidence that there is enough demand to go around.
What should be frowned upon though, is copy cat competition, such as that revealed in the pictures. Let’s hold ourselves to a higher standard and be reputable for our creativity.
Keep it One Hondred!