Tugende Pioneers Securitization of Motorcyle Assets with Lendable Inc

Tugende Customer Motorcycles at our 2015 Customer Appreciation Party

**UPDATES:

1)  See this announcement and learn more about Lendable on their website.
2) See a link to coverage of Lendable’s second deal, with a Tugende shout-out here.

May 3, Nairobi, Kenya – Today Lendable announced that it has completed its first receivable financing transaction, creating a new high-yield, high-impact asset class. This deal’s unique data-driven approach to structuring is the first-ever for receivable financing in emerging economies.

For this offering, Lendable partnered with Tugende, an asset financing company, or originator, in East Africa. Tugende is one of Uganda’s most promising asset finance companies, specialising in lease-to-own financing for motorcycle taxi drivers, known as boda bodas. According to Tugende, ownership doubles profits for drivers, and Tugende provides added value including training and insurance.

“Tugende is one of the most innovative asset finance businesses we have seen,” said Daniel Goldfarb, Co-Founder & CEO of Lendable. “They mix novel technology with best in class operations and customer service. Financially, their product is a no brainer for their customers, and you can see this in both their growth and repayment rates. Now that they have proven their model, they need more capital to reach scale in the market.”

Three global institutional investors purchased the credit contracts from Tugende for hundreds of Ugandan boda boda entrepreneurs. This transaction has enabled Tugende to give more motorcycles to self-employed entrepreneurs and expand their reach across Uganda.

“There are at least one million full time motorcycle taxi drivers across East Africa, and since day one, we’ve struggled to keep up with our large waiting list in Uganda in terms of constantly raising new funds to buy more motorcycles,” said Michael Wilkerson, CEO, of Tugende. “Partnering with Lendable helped us grow faster by matching new financing to meet our demand with the quantitatively provable security of our existing portfolio performance. In addition, Lendable’s experience and technology have added new insights into how we manage our portfolio and help thousands of customers own their income generating asset as quickly as possible.”

This transaction relied on Lendable’s robust quantitative models to assess deal risk and determine pricing through its proprietary Risk Engine. Lendable developed the financial structure of this transaction, allowing both investors and Tugende to avoid the expensive structuring costs that a similar deal would normally incur. As part of this process, Lendable also provided analytics to Tugende, helping improve their receivable quality. As a result, Lendable and Tugende have worked together to improve the advance rate to Tugende—a trend both sides hope will continue. Lendable’s approach makes receivable financing transactions more easy, fast and affordable for both investors and originators.

In addition to partnering with Tugende, Lendable has signed additional East African asset-backed financing companies on forthcoming receivable financing transactions through its platform. To create greater standardization in the industry, these transactions will utilize the same Standard Receivable Financing structure, with investors basing pricing on Lendable’s Risk Engine.

About Lendable

Lendable helps originators move beyond chasing one-off impact checks to scalable commercial forms of financing. Lendable provides cutting-edge analytics through its proprietary Risk Engine, off the shelf legal and accounting through its Standard Receivable Financing structure, and access to scalable investors.

About Tugende

Tugende is an asset finance company helping people take control of their economic futures by owning the productive assets they use to make a living. Over the past 4+ years, Tugende have provided lease-to-own financing of motorcycles to over 5000 motorcycle taxi drivers (boda bodas) in Uganda, helping them own their own bikes in 19 months or less. Ownership for these drivers doubles take home income, and Tugende also provides training, insurance, and in depth customer support. As Tugende grows it will leverage its staff, systems and growing customer database to finance other assets, improve access to credit and help customers move themselves up the economic ladder.


Announcing Maisha Boda Insurance: Exclusively for Tugende Customers

Maisha 1

September 3, Kampala.

Tugende Limited announced today the launch of “Maisha Boda Insurance,” a new product to enhance personal coverage for Tugende’s customers: responsible boda boda (motorcycle taxi) drivers.

Tugende is a for-profit social enterprise offering an affordable lease-to-own model to help boda boda motorcycle taxi drivers own their own motorcycles in approximately 18 months instead of renting indefinitely. Ownership allows drivers to double their daily profits, focus more on safety and stability and invest in a future beyond motorcycles.

Maisha Boda Insurance, underwritten by insurance providers Lion and Liberty, will provide Tugende customers with up to ugx 1,000,000 in insurance coverage for life, disability, and medical coverage related to an accident. There is also coverage up to ugx 500,000 for funeral expenses and critical illness.

Maisha coverage will be included in all new Tugende leases starting from mid-August with no additional cost to customers, and extra training on the insurance and benefits will be added to Tugende’s existing training for its customers on safety, security, customer service and financial management. Over 100 drivers have already been signed up for the Maisha policy in the first two weeks.

“Tugende’s mission is to put self-employed people like boda boda drivers in control of their own financial future,” said CEO and co-founder Michael Wilkerson. “The Maisha product provides customers with more ways to protect and invest in their families and future.”

Tugende has won numerous international awards for its work with boda boda drivers. They include the prestigious Echoing Green fellowship for social entrepreneurs in 2014 and being named one of the top 3 financial inclusion startups in Africa in 2015 by the Mastercard Foundation/MIT Zambezi Prize.

Tugende has a strong safety record and says drivers on the path to ownership are more careful and think longer term, an effect that will be enhanced by greater insurance. With insurance penetration in Uganda hovering at 1% of the population, Tugende and its partners hope insurance coverage will also continue to bring formal financial services to low income individuals.

“We believe that simple and easy to access insurance-packages are the way to go in the inclusion of all Boda Boda riders in financial sector,” said Godfrey Buyondo, Technical Manager for Operations at Lion Insurance.

“I would like thank the management of Tugende Limited for partnering with Lion and Liberty Life …and further like to commend Tugende on their continuous drive in offering Boda Boda riders with financial solutions that meet their today needs,” Buyondo added.

Miriam Ndozireho, Business Development Manager at Liberty Life said her company “commends Tugende for appreciating our role as an insurer to provide long term safety solution to the lives of members and their motorcycles.”

“We therefore encourage others Boda-Boda associations across the country to emulate this example and also urge individual Boda-Boda riders to join Tugende to enjoy these benefits that come with enrolling as a member.”

 

Zambezi Prize: Tugende is Top 3 in African Financial Inclusion Startups

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On July 1, Tugende received 3rd place and a $25,000 prize in the first annual Zambezi Prize for financial inclusion. 11 finalists were selected from more than 100 applications from across Africa, with Kenya’s Umati Capital and Ethiopia’s Kifaya taking home first and second prize respectively.

Judging criteria included innovation, economic sustainability, potential to reach large numbers of customers, and transformative impact for customers/beneficiaries. Tugende was the only Ugandan finalist, and we were thrilled to be among such great entrepreneurs and to take home a prize to invest in continuing to grow.

The Zambezi Prize is an initiative of the MasterCard Foundation and the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).  You can read highlights of each finalist’s work on the official announcement here, and we’ve also linked to the websites of all the great finalists at the bottom of this post.

2015 has been a big year so far for Tugende, with the closing of our second investment round, launch of Tugende VIP, and surpassing both 25 staff members and 1,000 active customers! As of this writing we have 1,200 paying customers and 370 more who have already taken ownership. Tugende!

More Information

In its own words: “The Zambezi Prize raises awareness of entrepreneurship and financial inclusion, encourages the flow of capital to financial inclusion ventures, and advances entrepreneurship and financial inclusion to fuel broad-based prosperity.”

The Zambezi Prize judging criteria:

  • Feasibility—the strength and potential for uptake and growth
  • Economic self-sustainability
  • Scalability—the potential to reach a large segment of the population
  • Innovative or transformative aspects
  • Impact—the potential for improving income and productivity of the consumer
  • Degree and evidence of implementation
  • The ability of the entrepreneur(s)

2015 Zambezi Prize Finalists

Looking for a great summer fellowship? Join Tugende in 2015–Updated: NEW DEADLINE March 17

 

Updated: Due to delays on our end, new deadline is March 17. 

Tugende is recruiting up to 2 MBA/MPP students and 2 undergraduates to come help us increase our financial and social impact for the summer of 2015. In past summers we have had fellows from universities including Yale, Columbia Business School, Colorado, North Carolina (UNC) and Simon Fraser.

Check out the video above, our website and social media pages, and of course the application itself to get a taste of life and opportunities to make a huge difference with Tugende.

Deadline: March 9 Now March 17 (but we know some of you want to lock things up before then and applications will be considered as they arrive so apply early!). Send all materials to jobs at tugendedriven.com. 

Already convinced or know someone great? Here are the applications:

***MBA/MPP

***Undergraduate

Need more convincing? Here’s how Jon Saunders, Colombia Business School ’14, described his 2013 experience in a recap for his university (click to read the whole thing):

Some people sit at desks and stare at screens the entire summer. I on the other hand, spent the majority of my summer on the back of a motorcycle working for an awesome for-profit social enterprise called Tugende, based in Kampala, Uganda

….

I didn’t make $20k this summer or get a lucrative offer from a Fortune 500 company; to me though, what I did was much more valuable. I learned that I can thrive in a chaotic environment; that money isn’t nearly as important as we make it out to be; and that there are some really cool jobs out there where you can not only make a living, but also truly have a profound positive social impact. My summer at Tugnede has forever changed the course of my life.

Tugende Launches Premium Boda Service “Tugende VIP”

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Tugende, a for-profit social enterprise based in Uganda, announced today its launch of “Tugende VIP” (www.tugendevip.com) a premium brand of uniformed and highly trained drivers of boda bodas (motorcycle taxis).

Tugende (www.tugendedriven.com) offers an affordable lease-to-own model to help motorcycle taxi drivers own their own motorcycles in 18 months or less instead of renting indefinitely. Payments are comparable to what drivers would otherwise pay in rent, and ownership significantly increases income, job security and road safety for drivers.

The Tugende VIP brand of drivers, who have bright pink reflector vests, passenger helmets and other Tugende branding, are part of Tugende’s overall efforts to help responsible boda boda drivers make more money. Along with the visual branding, Tugende VIP drivers have extra training in customer service and sign agreements to follow strict rules about responsible driving and customer care. Tugende VIP also offers an online directory and map, allowing passengers to find approved drivers easily, and says it has trained its drivers to give low prices instead of charging a premium in order to attract repeat business.

“Tugende VIP is a natural extension of our work empowering responsible boda boda drivers,” said Tugende CEO Michael Wilkerson. “We are happy to connect some of our highest performers as Tugende drivers, with passengers looking for a guaranteed high level of professionalism and service.”

“We’ve been working on this for a long time,” he added, and we are pleased to finally launch with a group of drivers, a visual brand, and the training behind it to live up to Tugende’s leadership in responsibility on the road.”

One of the new Tugende VIP drivers, Isma Luutu, 30, drives in Nakasero and said he’s excited about the new opportunity. “It is going to help me increase my value and get more passengers,” he said, adding that he intends to pay off his motorcycle more quickly and build his own home.

Luutu also added that he appreciated the additional training and network of Tugende VIP. “I liked the VIP training so much,” he said, “especially building more friendships with the other VIP members and having a hotline to call with any problems.”

Tugende VIP is launching with 20 drivers in Kampala, but hopes to expand as quickly as possible, while keeping strict standards of quality and responsibility. Tugende also operates in Mbarara and Jinja and is looking to expand its core financing services and VIP across the country over time.

The Tugende VIP launch follows soon after Tugende’s January announcement about closing a new round of $780,000 in investment, including the highly selective Echoing Green award for global social entrepreneurship, and major growth in key areas including revenue, customers and staff.

Tugende’s high level goal is to help high-risk borrowers in East Africa take control of their own income generating assets, even when they can’t access financing from mainstream options–a common problem for Uganda’s motorcycle taxi or “boda boda” operators.

Tugende means “let’s go!” in Luganda, the main local language in Kampala, as well as a number of other East African local languages and is commonly used when boarding “boda boda” motorcycle taxis. The company was originally founded in 2010 as a way to invest in favorite drivers, and started rapid growth in 2012 after Wilkerson returned to Uganda to focus on Tugende full-time.

More information:

Fact Sheet: Tugende VIP Drivers…

    • Are experienced and carefully selected: Tugende VIP Drivers are carefully screened first to become Tugende lease-to-own clients and then go through another selection and training process to earn their status as a VIP Driver.”
    • Offer helmets: All VIP Drivers ride with smart, clean helmets for their valued clients.
    • Provide the best customer service: VIP drivers participate in extensive customer service training before joining Tugende and again before joining Tugende VIP.
    • Are held accountable: You can give feedback at any time for any reason by calling our friendly Tugende VIP Hotline at 0759 843 633 or emailing tugendevip@tugendedriven.com.
    • Are easy to find: VIP Drivers’ stand out in a crowd with their swag, making them easier for potential passengers to spot.
    • Drive mindfully: VIP Drivers own their own motorcycles or are on their way to ownership, so they value keeping you and their bikes in good condition.

Tugende

www.tugendedriven.com

Sample Customer profile: http://blog.tugendedriven.com/customer-profile-brian-kirunda/
2 Page Fact sheet (click for link)
info@tugendedriven.com

Tugende VIP
www.tugendevip.com
Facebook.com/TugendeVIP

Echoing Green:

www.echoinggreen.org

Media: http://www.echoinggreen.org/about/media

Tugende Profile: http://www.echoinggreen.org/fellows/michael-wilkerson

Press contact:

Janna Oberdorf
janna@echoinggreen.org

Let’s Go! Tugende Closes $780k to Kickstart 2015 Growth

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Tugende, a for-profit social enterprise based in Uganda, gained $780,000 in additional growth funding and working capital in an investment round started in 2014 and closed in January, CEO Michael Wilkerson announced today.

Tugende (www.tugendedriven.com) offers an affordable lease-to-own model to help motorcycle taxi drivers own their own motorcycles in 18 months or less instead of renting indefinitely. Payments are comparable to what drivers would otherwise pay in rent, and ownership significantly increases income, job security and road safety for drivers.

Investors in the round, which consisted of equity and debt, included the Segal Family Foundation, a private foundation supporting social enterprises in 23 African countries, and Echoing Green, one of the oldest and most respected funders of early stage social enterprises. A number of private angel investors, including previous Tugende investors, also participated. Closing the investment round capped off a strong 2014 for Tugende which included the highly selective Echoing Green award, and major growth in key areas including revenue, customers and staff.

“As an organization that funds and supports early-stage social entrepreneurs, Echoing Green was thrilled to invest in Michael Wilkerson and Tugende,” said Rich Leimsider, Vice President of Echoing Green. “Tugende is doing vitally important work with a tested, and proven, business model.  But most importantly, Michael, like all the best entrepreneurs, is all-in. He and his team won’t rest until they’ve grown Tugende into a business that has the biggest impact.”

For the past 27 years, Echoing Green has invested over $36 million in in seed-stage funding and strategic assistance in more than 600 world-class leaders driving positive social change in over sixty countries. Echoing Green Fellows include the founders of Teach For America, City Year, College Summit, Citizen Schools, One Acre Fund, and SKS Microfinance.

Tugende’s combination of a business model on its way to profitability and social impact which doubles income for customers has been a major factor in attracting investors.

“We mostly invest in non-profits, but Tugende is a great example of the potential for massive impact and strong returns in the for-profit arena,” said Martin Segal, Executive Director of the Segal Family Foundation. “We have followed Michael and his team since 2012 and were excited to take an equity position in 2014.”

Tugende’s high level goal is to help high-risk borrowers in East Africa take control of their own income generating assets, even when they can’t access financing from mainstream options–a common problem for Uganda’s motorcycle taxi or “boda boda” operators.

“We know that across Uganda and many other emerging markets, motorcycles are driving economies forward by moving people and getting business done. From farmers needing to move produce to professionals stuck in traffic, demand for affordable transport solutions is high, and motorcycles are filling the gap.” said Tugende CEO Michael Wilkerson. “Perhaps more importantly, motorcycles provide hundreds of thousands of badly needed jobs in a region with massive youth unemployment.”

Tugende estimates a market of approximately 400,000 people making their living with motorcycles in Uganda, and many more in neighboring countries like Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. In 2014, Tugende grew 300% to over 700 active customers with most in Uganda’s capital Kampala and a promising expansion into Mbarara, a major trading hub in Western Uganda. More than 200 additional customers have already paid off leases with Tugende and taken ownership.

“It’s clear from a moral standpoint that the drivers, not whoever they rent from, should benefit more from their own risk and labor.” Wilkerson added. “But ownership also has immense ripple effects for communities and the economy by helping drivers invest more in their families and futures. Owners think longer term–including in the way they drive–and accumulate assets so they can lift themselves up the economic ladder.”

The majority of new funds are being used to finance additional leases and meet demand from Tugende’s long customer waiting list. The company has also started investing in opening new locations, new executive hires, and better technology to provide a foundation for even more rapid growth in 2015 and 2016.

Tugende’s new investment follows an earlier round of $300,000 closed in December 2013. The majority of investors in that round were impact-oriented angel investors, with many drawn to Tugende through the Unreasonable Institute, an incubator for for-profit social enterprises. Tugende was an Unreasonable Fellow in 2012, under its original name “Own Your Own Boda.” The name was changed to Tugende in February 2013.

Tugende means “let’s go!” in Luganda, the main local language in Kampala, as well as a number of other East African local languages and is commonly used when boarding “boda boda” motorcycle taxis. The company was originally founded in 2010 as a way to invest in favorite drivers, and started rapid growth in 2012 after Wilkerson returned to Uganda to focus on Tugende full-time.

More information:

Tugende

www.tugendedriven.com

Sample Customer profile: http://blog.tugendedriven.com/customer-profile-brian-kirunda/

2 Page Fact sheet (click for link)

info@tugendedriven.com

 

Echoing Green:

www.echoinggreen.org

Media: http://www.echoinggreen.org/about/media

Tugende Profile: http://www.echoinggreen.org/fellows/michael-wilkerson

Press contact:

Janna Oberdorf

janna@echoinggreen.org

 

Segal Family Foundation

www.segalfamilyfoundation.org

info@segalfamilyfoundation.org

 

Unreasonable Institute

www.unreasonableinstitute.org

Tugende Profile: http://unreasonableinstitute.org/stories-of-impact/tugende/

Press Contact:

wisdom@unreasonableinstitute.org

Customer Profile: Brian Kirunda

brian kirunda

Tugende customer Brian Kirunda is 14 months into his Tugende lease, and on his way to ownership. We caught up with him recently to talk about how he entered the industry, why he chose Tugende, and what he plans to do after becoming a full owner of his own motorcycle. 

How did you start riding a boda boda?

I’ve been riding a boda boda for 4 years. I stopped school in 2005 in Senior One because my dad died and my mom didn’t have enough money at the time. I was in Jinja, so I started digging on a farm, but a guy hired me to work as his houseboy in Kampala. My responsibilities were mopping the house, fetching water, making juice, watching the gate.

I wanted to be like that guy, my boss, because he was very rich. I wanted to buy my own plot in the village and build a house.

In 2007, I started working at a chapatti stand on the side of the road. I saved money for 7 months and started my own stand–I had to buy a table, frying pan, all the materials. One day a boda guy came and told me he was selling his bike–it was very old so the price was low. I hired another worker to make chapattis and started riding boda boda.

At first it was hard, because I didn’t know the prices or the locations most customers wanted to go. At first I thought I would save some money and go back to school, but then I got another plan to save money for a bike and to buy a plot of land.

Why did you apply for a motorcycle from Tugende?

I had a bike that I was paying off to another boss. But I recommended another driver to the same boss, and he lost the bike. The boss arrested me and said that because I brought the friend I was responsible. Instead of letting him take me to prison I agreed to give him back the motorcycle I had almost paid off. Then I needed a new motorcycle.

I had seen these bikes with the letter “T” behind [Tugende has a metal “T” above the number plate] but I didn’t know what they were. My friend told me that there was a company offering motorcycles and luckily enough it was near my stage. I saved some money to pay the initial deposit and my mother also helped me by selling three goats in the village.

When I came to the office, I liked the rules, like not driving at night, because that can save your life. I also like the focus on good driving. It is better to spend a long time [on one trip] than to spend a long time recovering in the hospital.

The weekly payments were fair because I was paying almost as much to my other boss but the bike was old and it didn’t have a helmet, license or metal guards. Tugende is also flexible with me when I tell them I’m sick, I just have to catch up on payments later. I’m also excited because Tugende is now helping me get my driver’s permit.

What do you plan to do after owning your own motorcycle?

First of all I’m planning to thank this company, Tugende, for what I will be. I already use some of my extra money to help my mom with my sister’s school fees, and I will increase on that, and building my own house in the village.

Next I’m planning save more money every day because I won’t have to pay anyone. That’s why I make good maintenance on my bike, because I know what I want. I’ll use that money to buy another new bike and help my family eat fish or meat every weekend. After getting the new bike, it will help make even more money and start looking for an even better business. Maybe I can become a chicken farmer.

I want the boda boda industry to help me save capital, not be my job for another 40 years or forever. When you are old, you don’t have balance. But for now, this is the best way to build my savings.

Tugende is Now Recruiting Summer Fellows for 2014

Tugende 2013 Fellows Jon and Nick, 2nd and 3rd from L, celebrate at a customer appreciation BBQ with other Tugende staff

Tugende 2013 Fellows Jon and Nick, 2nd and 3rd from L, celebrate at a customer appreciation BBQ with other Tugende staff

Tugende is recruiting 2 MBA/MPP students and 2 undergraduates to come help us increase our financial and social impact for the summer of 2014. In 2013 we had fellows from Yale, Columbia, Colorado, and Simon Fraser Universities.

Deadline: March 1st (but applications will be considered as they arrive so apply early!). Send all materials to michael at tugendedriven.com. Already convinced or know someone great? Here are the applications:

*****Undergraduate; *******MBA/MPP

Need more convincing? Here’s how Jon Saunders, Colombia Business School ’14, described his 2013 experience in a recap for his university (click to read the whole thing):

Some people sit at desks and stare at screens the entire summer. I on the other hand, spent the majority of my summer on the back of a motorcycle working for an awesome for-profit social enterprise called Tugende, based in Kampala, Uganda

….

I didn’t make $20k this summer or get a lucrative offer from a Fortune 500 company; to me though, what I did was much more valuable. I learned that I can thrive in a chaotic environment; that money isn’t nearly as important as we make it out to be; and that there are some really cool jobs out there where you can not only make a living, but also truly have a profound positive social impact. My summer at Tugnede has forever changed the course of my life.

For an even more in-depth take, 2013 Fellow Nick Rodrigues wrote a recommendation for future fellows (and Jon, Nick, and our other fellows Chris Harnisch and Cassandra McColman are all happy to talk to prospective applicants). Back to Nick:

As one of three 2013 MBA Summer Fellows, I highly recommend pursuing a summer internship with Tugende.  As with any start-up, things move very fast and the dynamic international environment is no different.  There is a tremendous learning curve (as with any startup), but the experiential learning and personal growth opportunities were invaluable.  My background is in management consulting and I wanted to get hands-on experience and exposure to the international startup environment.  In contrast to a traditional summer internship, the Tugende Summer Fellowship gave me the opportunity to learn from, and work with, a very talented leadership team and directly impact the strategic direction of an international for-profit social enterprise.  Michael is a great person to work and he gave us the autonomy to work on the projects we were most interested in.  Over the three months, I was involved with everything from systematizing core business processes and financials to defining our market and expansion strategy and social impact metrics.

Two of my most memorable experiences came from interactions with our Boda Boda customers and local staff.  Access to capital is a huge challenge in Uganda and most local lenders believe motorcycle drivers cannot be trusted to repay loans.  By forming personal relationships with our marginalized customers, I learned the majority of them were the most motivated, humble, and reputable individuals I’ve ever met.  I visited their homes and saw how some used a single loan to eventually purchase additional bikes, a car, livestock, property, and, most importantly, the financial freedom to send their children to better schools and increase their family’s socioeconomic conditions.  The work was definitely challenging and the environment was very dynamic, but the relationships and work we were able to deliver made it all worthwhile.  This culminated in our end of summer Customer Appreciation BBQ that had nearly 100 customers in attendance.  Having all the customers in place, I was able to see first hand the impact of our work. Their joy and happiness is unforgettable, and this experience allowed me to understand the profound impact trusting a marginalized community can have in regards to social and business impact.

Secondly, I was equally inspired and humbled by the ambitions of the local staff.  Both Michael [Wilkerson, the CEO] and Paul [Sselunjoji, the Operations Manager] are extremely driven and have the passion, humility and talent to deliver.  Learning the local context from them and the rest of the local team was foundational to my summer experience.  Working with them and the other Summer Fellows has allowed me to adapt, learn, and grow in areas that wouldn’t have been possible in a traditional 3-month internship.  I wouldn’t replace any of these experiences nor the lifelong relationships I was able to forge through my Tugende Summer Fellowship.  I would definitely recommend this adventure and look forward to working with my fellow interns, Michael, and the Tugende team in the future.

Naume (and Tugende) Appear in The Economist’s Africa Blog

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Baobab, the Africa blog of prominent glossy weekly The Economist, ran a short story about Naume Awero, Kampala’s fearless female boda boda driver, who is a current Tugende customer. Tugende got to add to Naume’s praise and do a little promotion. Below is an excerpt, but read the whole thing:

According to [a] local newspaper a few female drivers exist in rural parts of Uganda. But Tugende, a firm providing loans in the form of motorbikes to recommended drivers in a hire-purchase arrangement, says she is the only one in Kampala.

“We interact with hundreds if not thousands of drivers all over Kampala, and as far as we know, Naume is the only female,” says Michael Wilkerson, co-founder and CEO. “This not only shows how brave she is, but the level of enthusiasm she generates shows how much potential there is for other women to buck stereotypes and join the industry. “

Ms Awero has succeeded in a male-dominated industry and defied the odds in her personal life. Abandoned by her mother at 12 following her father’s death, she was raped and at 13 became pregnant.

When a male boda driver joked she should borrow his bike, the single mother of two took on the challenge. She asked the university where she was working as a security guard for a loan, borrowing the rest of the money from a bank.

Tugende featured on VC4Africa

vc4africa headline

We got a big shout-out last week on VC4Africa, a leading site about the startup world in Africa, for successfully hitting our investment target. Check it out for a pretty extended interview with me, including how superheros helped contribute to Tugende’s founding, and a Q&A with board member Aaron Pattillo about why he decided to get involved.

So, where is all that money going? Do we have it made now? Actually, almost all that investment raised has already been re-invested into our portfolio of motorcycles–the key in expanding to almost 250 motorcycles on the road and 60 completed. That has Tugende on track for the goals we set more than a year ago when we started taking outside funds. So we are are incredibly excited about the progress, and even more to keep growing.

For more on the progress over the last year, also take a look at this fun update on Unreasonable.is about our growth and how the Unreasonable Institute helped us make it happen.