When Danstan Kisuule resigned from his job in 2009 to concentrate on growing a savers’ cooperative, his colleagues were worried about how he would manage to keep afloat.
The Young Savers Association for Ventures and Entrepreneurship (Y Save cooperative) he started 14 years ago on January 24, 2000; has since grown from the original 15 members to now close to 4,000.
Y Save cooperative, a savings and investment scheme, considered as one of the biggest in the country, has seen its savings grow to more than Shs3 billion, while the share capital and reserves have also grown to more than Shs3 billion. The cooperative has assets worth more than Shs7 billion at cost value.
Y-Save was registered with the Registrar of Cooperatives in the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry and it changed its name to become Y-Save Cooperative Savings & Credit Society Ltd on November 26, 2004.
Due to the needs from the members of Y-Save to get involved in other areas of business and investments, Y-Save changed its legal status to become Y-Save Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society Ltd on May 22, 2013.
Ms Barbara Buyondo Ofwono the proprietor of Victorious Educational Services’ is one of the pioneer members who had lost hope in banks that had refused to give her a loan.
She then approached her colleagues at Y Save Club who offered her a Shs1.3 million to renovate her first premises at Namirembe Road near Pride Theatre.
After renovations she set off with about 30 children and these have spread to over 3500 with four campuses. Some campuses are found along Namirembe road in Kampala and another primary school located in Mbalala, Mukono district.
“I was the first member to borrow money from Y Save Club and they have been part of my growth,” Ms Ofwono Shares.
Much as the core saving seem little, this cooperative has attracted a range of people from company Chief Executive Officers to students, cleaners and those people who are under the care of the church, for instance the widows and ladies who are affected and living with HIV –from Watoto Church’s NGO, ‘Living Hope’ organisation.
Altogether, the association has 700 direct members, 700 Living Hope Ladies and more than 2,500 students.
Managing the growth in numbers from the original 15 members to the current 4000 members has been a challenge.
Kisuule says the other challenges have to do with managing people’s expectations. Many people have heard about this club and when they come in to join, they think it’s a get quick rich association.
“During the AGM people complain a lot. Yet the core objective of the club was for us to get together and use the economies of scales available to improve our financial circumstances,” he says.
“Some people don’t have a business inclination and their expectations tend to be different,” Kisuule adds.
Kisuule’s future investment options