Tugende finances productive assets unlocking growth in East Africa and empowering people previously considered to be too risky for credit.
Tugende finances income-generating assets for proven entrepreneurs. We invest in giving a chance to customers generally unable to access traditional credit providers, including most micro-finance institutions—often due to a lack of existing collateral.
Our primary product is a lease to own motorcycle financing package which includes training, life and health insurance, and active support. Successful customers own the bike within 20 months or less. Ownership allows drivers to save money they would normally spend renting, and provides accumulated savings in the value of a paid-off motorcycle. Our thousands of alumni customers (owners) have invested in new businesses, buying land and building houses, better health care and education for their children, and moving themselves and their families up the economic ladder.
In the long term, we envision leasing other productive assets to trustworthy entrepreneurs, and to expand our support services, like the insurance we provide today, for people determined to become financially independent.
- Customers Served: Tugende has financed over 7,000 motorcycles for its clients, and has already created more than 3,250 new owners.
- Value of Assets Disbursed: Tugende has leased out over $7 million worth of motorcycles since its inception and has invested significantly more into the Ugandan economy along with the new owners created.
- Ownership Doubles Income: After drivers complete their lease payments with Tugende, they double their take home earnings compared to renting through a landlord.
Tugende means “let’s go,” and our story is about always moving forward. Starting in 2006, now CEO Michael Wilkerson hired hundreds of boda bodas to help him chase stories across Kampala and generally avoid being stuck in traffic. .
Tugende was first inspired by Michael’s friendship with a young, hardworking boda driver, Medie, who was able to get an informal loan and own his own motorcycle. After ownership, Medie used his extra income to build a house for his mother, allowing her to stop renting as well.
Most boda drivers were stuck renting forever—considered too risky for formal credit--and had little job stability as informal landlords could withdraw the motorcycle at any time. Knowing Medie’s story in 2009, we started financing motorcycles to trustworthy drivers and registered a company called Own Your Own Boda. In 2013, the organization changed its name to Tugende, which means "Let's Go" in Luganda and many other regional languages. Tugende matches our mission of helping people move themselves forward, our attitude, and our progress, with over 7,000 clients and tens of thousands of their family members better off thanks to our path to ownership.
Our Core Values
We literally built Tugende from the ground up around understanding our customers and what they need and want. We focus on respect, dignity, and being approachable, especially when there are challenges.
We have the courage to identify and act on problems, proactively creating and seizing opportunities. We think critically about long term solutions and support each other and customers to positive outcomes.
We encourage each other to take risks, to try things we've never done, to learn from successes and setbacks, and to always adopt an open mind to learning as an organization, as professionals and as people.
Work as a Team
We start with humility, dependability and support. We believe the collective production of our team is greater than the sum of its parts, and we support one another daily.
- Africa | East