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Tugende uses asset finance, technology, and a customer-centric model to help informal sector entrepreneurs dramatically increase their economic trajectory. From financing to value-added services to new opportunities, Tugende is building a long-term ecosystem for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to grow and thrive with them as their partner. 

90% of businesses in Africa are MSMEs yet they receive less than 20% of total available credit. Tugende began by filling this credit gap for motorcycle taxis in Uganda, helping them own instead of rent their key productive assets in 24 months or less.

Training, life and medical insurance, and high-quality safety gear are all included, and Tugende staff actively support clients to reach their ownership goals. Along the way, Tugende clients benefit from transparent digital credit profiles to help them unlock new offers for their responsible performance and grow faster. 

Over 43,000 clients later, Tugende is growing into new asset finance products (like retail fridge and boat engines!) and new countries but with the same core focus: enabling driven entrepreneurs to own their futures.

About the founders/CEO:

Founder and CEO Michael Wilkerson has lived full time in Uganda for more than nine years. He began his career as a journalist and first fell in love with Uganda and motorcycle taxis during his internships at Uganda's Daily Monitor newspaper and Independent magazine. Tugende was co-founded in 2010 as an informal side project and in 2012 as a growth startup. 

Michael holds a BA with departmental honors and University Distinction from Stanford and an MPhil from Oxford where he received the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Civics. Michael and Tugende have been recognised for social impact by numerous awards and partners including the Unreasonable Institute, Echoing Green, The Zambezi Prize for Financial Inclusion, Shell Foundation, GSBI – Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and Yunus Social Business.

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