How I Started A Multipurpose Cooperative Society From The Corner Of My Hostel Room

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Mary Joseph Okon is an undergraduate of Communication Arts at the University of Uyo. She is an entrepreneur, running a multipurpose cooperative society SaveSmart Ng Mpc which offers daily savings, fixed income investments, credits facility and general business consultancy. The mission of the Cooperative is to provide easy access to financial services to students and small business owners. She recently won an award as student entrepreneur of the year.

She ventured into business in January 2020, just before the novel covid-19 pandemic hit the world. She says her sole purpose of going into business is to make financial services accessible to all irrespective of the level of education or exposure, through a traditional retail banking model.
multipurpose cooperative society

The economic potentials of a multipurpose cooperative society are huge. The market share is about N1.7 billion according to the statistics by CBN in the last years. Mary outlines various ways of making money in the business to include: β€œMoney is made from charges for the savings, interest from loans and interest from investments. Customers love keeping their money with the cooperative for safety purposes, these monies are then given out as loans which attract 9% interest monthly till the duration expires. We also make money from investments such as fixed income deposit and transportation sector. Investments from the transportation industry yield N100,000 per annum.

Mary states her initial capital was N7,000 which grew to N200,000 to accommodate their rent facility and other office equipment.

The business has recorded some successes, according to Mary, β€œMy greatest success so far is my consistent growth. I started in the corner of my hostel with just my savings card but now, I have an office space, marketers, which has greatly scaled my business credibility. Another success recorded is my business cooperative license. I started as just a thrift collection but now, it’s licensed as a multipurpose cooperative society to carry out microfinancing in Akwa Ibom state”.

SaveSmart NG is registered with CAC with registration number 3191411 and licensed to run as a multipurpose cooperative society by the Bureau of cooperative and rural development. It is a structured business with Mary working as a manager/CEO and business developer/strategist, a technical support lead who handles the website and other technology-related needs, a lawyer, who functions as a legal advisor and company’s secretary and lastly, marketers whose job is to get people to patronize the business through word of mouth.

Mary says she loves women who are doing well in business and life generally, in her words, “My mentors are: Mrs Meflyn Awana, the SA to the Governor Udom Emmanuel on entrepreneurial Development, Mrs Ofonime Udoinyang, Director/founder, Splendid Microfinance Ltd and Mrs Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria.

Mary appeals for support from policymakers and investors through creating an enabling environment for entrepreneurs via the provision of business grants, training, stable supply of electricity and implementation of favourable policies like tax reduction and tax relief, etc.

To fellow entrepreneurs, Mary advises, “I’d say get an experience or get a mentor on time. Having a mentor will save you from unnecessary spending. You’re going to avoid lots of smart and dumb mistakes with the help of a mentor or experience. Either way, make sure to have one.”

Entrepreneurs create employment and add value to people through different corporate social responsibility initiatives which could be scholarships, business grants, discounts etc. If you love handling financial issues, you can venture into the business and establish a multipurpose cooperative society today like Mary.

74 thoughts on “How I Started A Multipurpose Cooperative Society From The Corner Of My Hostel Room”

  1. I’m so proud of you dear, and I’m blessed to also be a client of yours. SavesmartNG will surely get bigger and better. I’m also praying for you that you’d advance from petty savings to Larger Savings (companies, businesses etc). Keep doing a great job dear.

  2. You are one go-getter that inspires alot of people. Your passion and efforts are so high! Keep it going dear! Celebration and success is urz!

  3. Amazing!!!

    I’ve known Mary for a few years now and I know she is a goal-getter.
    I’m not surprised but I’m so excited for you and what you are building.

    God bless you, keep winning.

  4. It’s really impressive as I have been part of the success story.. From the first day I got my savings card in class, to when the business grew to have an office space…

  5. Remarkable Mary, what you’ve done with the little you had and the growth at which it grows is remarkable.

    Go ahead, dear Mary!

  6. Mary a young female entrepreneur is a model and has inspired young persons that they can achieve their entrepreneural goal.

  7. Wow! I’m not surprise to see her come this far. She worked really hard for all she has accomplished now.

    Like she’s one of the most industrious young lady I’ve seen in recent time.

    Keep soaring limit breaker
    Best wishes to her.

  8. Well, I actually witnessed the growth of this business. And to say the least, it’s nothing short of outstanding. From a small entrepreneur, barely managing, to an employer of labor. Indeed, Mary’s story is one unlike another.


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