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FAQ

Please browse these questions to get answers to your questions.
If you still have a question, don't hesitate to send us a message here.

 What is Esoko?

Esoko is a marketing, monitoring and advisory platform for Agriculture. It is hosted in the cloud, and subscribers pay annual fees to license the platform. It is integrated with mobile operators, is managed on the web, and distributes data via SMS. We provide content for smallholder farmers (like market prices, weather alerts, agric tips), and we provide tools for businesses to track and manage and inform stakeholders in their value chains. Overall, our goal is to help smallholder farmers. We do this by increasing their access to information, linking them to markets, and improving the efficiency of the businesses that serve them.

 What does Esoko provide?

A license with Esoko gives your organization the technical platform to collect and distribute market data via the web and mobile phone. The license includes server hosting, bandwith capacity, interconnects with mobile operators, access to our helpdesk, technical support, bug fixes and feature upgrades. On the strategy side, you gain access to Esoko’s business model, MIS financial planning tools, marketing concepts and rollout expertise. Representatives from your project will also be invited to participate in the annual Esoko Partner Conference every spring in Accra. In-country trainings are available, and cover overall strategy, identifying partners, negotiating with mobile operators, setting up an enumeration system, training farmers in the field, and marketing to businesses/NGOs. 

 What are the main features of Esoko?
  • automated alerts (market prices, weather, offers to buy and sell, agricultural tips)
  • SMSPush to broadcast targeted or scheduled messages
  • SMSPolls to gather data from the anyone in the field with a phone
  • Inbox monitoring of all inbound messages
  • Keyword autoresponders
  • Extension App on Android smartphones
  • Survey solutions on Android smartphones
 What is being planned for future releases?

Lots of great stuff but we need to know you first before we spill the beans (wink)

 Can Esoko customize to suit our needs?

Yes. Esoko is totally configurable where you define the commodities, markets, languages, currencies, and measures to suit your program. You can define your own dashboard view, use only the apps that make sense to you, and even publish your own branded page with your own content under your own domain name. Deeper software customization is possible where we can integrate with third party apps through our API, or build new features, but we take that on a case by case basis.

 How do we get data in the system?

Esoko has many powerful ways in which you can upload and approve data. This can be done via the web, SMS, android or java phones. You can even customize forms to suit your data needs. But first you need to work out what kind of content service you want, and who will supply that data. In some cases you may have other partners in country that are already gathering that data or you may have to setup your own team of market agents. Esoko can help you figure out the right strategy.

 What are the next steps after agreeing to partner?

After contracting, as a reseller, you will be required to attend a certification program in Accra for a week. Then we'll define your country/business strategy and help you get started. Generally the things you need to consider include:

  • building a financial model
  • doing a market study to understand demand
  • hiring a team if required
  • configuring the platform for your network/country
  • setting up an interconnect with mobile operators and getting shortcodes
  • securing your first clients
  • deploying training and services in the field
 How can Esoko be profitable?

Esoko resellers sell annual subscriptions. This can be to consumers (in the form of a large national club that directly targets farmers) or it can be to businesses. All you need to work out is the cost of your team and office (or you may even do this alone) and the number of clients you may aquire over time. We'll help you build out the model. Different countries depend on different conditions. Large national services may take a few years to be profitable – simple reselling agreements with a few high value clients can make your profitable immediately.

 We're a public project, with limited scope and time, can we use Esoko?

Sure. Then you'd be a subscriber and not a reseller. You can work directly with us (or a reseller in your country) and we can deploy the platform with you. We can train up your project officers and even come and help you do initial trainings in the field. We've done this for years in over 15 countries, so we have lots of experience and tips. If you are looking for longer-term sustainability then either your project participants should pay – or you can consider becoming (or finding) a reseller. We can advise on how its worked elsewhere.

 How many resellers can be in one country?

Generally we are interested in one key reseller for each country. But larger markets could easily have multiple resellers. Esoko would help coordinate if there are more than one. We are interested in fewer partners who are profitable.

 How is Esoko different to other MIS?
  • we have content from countries all over Africa
  • you can customize the platform to grow with you
  • we combine several different apps in one platform
  • we have extensive and well documented support
  • we provide an advisory team that can travel to your country
  • we have a business model that ensure sustainability
 Who owns the content?

Whoever uploads the content owns the content. They take responsibility for the data they submit and are liable in the event of any disputes. Esoko is given a right to publish that content in perpetuity. Only if a network is private, then Esoko does not get the right to publish the content. Content can be downloaded by the owner anytime they want.

 Can i host my own Esoko servers?

No, at this stage it is not possible, although we are considering this for 2014. 

 What is the price of Esoko?

Subscribers pay between $18-$12,800 annually to use the platform. This depends on the features they want and the size of their network. Communication, support and training costs are extra. Resellers have to pay a small fee annually for certification and support and then take a commission on sales.

 What countries is Esoko in?
  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cote D’Ivoire
  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique 
  • Nigeria
  • Zimbabwe
 Can we setup our own Shortcode?

Yes. We provide a range of assistance to help you negotiate with your local mobile operator, or we can do that on your behalf. We provide sample contracts and strategies for getting the best shortcodes and deals. If you don't want to wait, we can set you up with an android gateway so that your country can be receiving and sending messages immediately.

 Can we get extra support and training?

Esoko provides a dedicated partner team that is available to help you establish your project and ensure success. We provide strategy trainings, technical trainings, in-country visits, and Ghana workshops. We have over 70 documents that process how to establish a successful MIS service including business plan, org chart, job description, marketing materials, training guides, certificates and tests and more. We can provide training in Ghana, over the web, or we can even come to your project and do trainings with your team or in the field. Esoko has provided training in over 14 countries around Africa.

 

What are the unique selling points of Esoko?

How protected is Esoko? Can people copy it?

Can i get an exclusive contract?

What name would i trade under?