Customer Profile: Ssemanda Charles

Ssemanda, with his 5th Tugende boda boda on his stage

Ssemanda, with his 5th Tugende boda boda on his stage

Ssemanda is on the verge of paying off his fifth Tugende lease since he started driving a boda boda in 2013 . We recently chatted about what he’s done with the boda bodas that he’s come to own, what he’s achieved from the Tugende leases and what he’s up to now that he’s about to own his fifth motorcycle.

Why did you choose Tugende?

I am an electrician and still work as such when it is required of me. However, it did not pay enough, though, so I started driving boda bodas to supplement my income. I had saved up some money, but not enough to purchase a motorcycle. When I found out about Tugende I visited the offices and successfully received my first bike. Classes were so helpful, especially as I did not have much experience working as a boda rider.

What have you done with the motorcycles that you owned?

I lease out my boda bodas to others and I’ve earned more that enough to look after myself and the family, and I am proud of being of help to others in need. I am so grateful to Tugende for helping me to own my own motorcycles, which is why I keep returning. Ultimately, I am saving to start a side business for myself.

What are you up to now that you’re on your way to ownership again?

I am so happy and relieved. I will drive this one myself as I decide what to do next.

Customer Profile: Tamale Julius

Tamale Julius, boda boda owner and proprietor of Tamale Video Hall

Tamale Julius, boda boda owner and proprietor of Tamale Video Hall

Tamale Julius is one of Tugende’s many alumni. He started driving in 2011, and has since gained ownership of three motorcycles through Tugende. We recently talked to him about how he joined Tugende, what he thinks of the Tugende classes and what he plans to do now that he’s successfully paid off his third bike. Continue reading

Tugende CEO, Michael Wilkerson on SOCAPTV

Motorcycle taxis are an enormous industry in East Africa. They help people move through traffic in cities, and in rural areas, where there is no public transport, they get people where they need to go, literally driving the economy. At the same time motorcycles are incredibly important source of jobs especially in countries like Uganda where 70% the population is under 25 and unemployment is high. Continue reading

Meet Tugende’s 2015 Fellows

The Tugende 2015 Fellowship Programme offered 3 individuals the unique opportunity to use their skills in support of Uganda’s entrepreneurial boda drivers. Our interns jumped into Kampala life with both feet and made a significant impact on Tugende over this exciting summer, during which we eclipsed 1000 active customers. Continue reading

Closed job posting:  Field Officers and Technical Systems Guru.

Come and join the Tugende Team!

If you too would like to help Tugende’s mission of giving thousands of entrepreneurs the opportunity to own the tools they use to make a living, now is your chance. Tugende is growing, please look at the detailed job descriptions below (or here) and apply ASAP.

Technical Systems Guru:

Our Technical Systems Guru will play a role in the effective execution of our future growth by enabling Tugende to work more efficiently and effectively. We currently serve over 1,300 customers in Kampala and two other Ugandan cities and plan to expand quickly over the next few years. As Tugende continues to scale, our needs will evolve and our systems must develop with them. Our goal is to move most of our data and processes to Salesforce, so you will play a vital role in the growth and accountability of our organization.

We are looking for an all-around IT expert, with developer experience with Salesforce. Our Salesforce CRM platform is enabling us to grow faster and work smarter, and the successful candidate will help accelerate this growth by improving the platform, training staff, and contributing to Tugende’s adoption of other technology that enables us to help our customers better and faster. The position will manage the day to day operation, configuration, internal technical support, and expansion of all of Tugende’s IT systems. Training staff with various levels of digital literacy will also be required, so an engaging and friendly attitude is essential.

Deadline: Wednesday 30th September 2015.

Click here for full Technical Systems Guru Job Description

Field Officer

The Field Officer is the main point of contact between Tugende and its clients. This role is responsible for a client’s lease approval process, from the initial class to final boda payment, cancellation or loss recovery. The Field Officer’s day-to-day responsibilities include conducting Tugende field operations (e.g. vetting, impounding, cancellations, loss recovery, etc.), managing collections, and responding to client needs. All positions are in Kampala. However, we are particularly interested in hiring field officers who speak languages from the areas of Hoima, Jinja, Masaka, Mbale, Gulu, Mbarara and may be willing to relocate there in the future.

Deadline: Saturday 19th September 2015.

Click here for full Field Officer Job Description 

How to apply: Email jobs -AT- with your CV (or resume) and cover letter. Be sure to let us know why you want to join Tugende in this capacity and why you think you’re the perfect fit for the job!


Announcing Maisha Boda Insurance: Exclusively for Tugende Customers

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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