From builder to money lender, Kayondo is smelling success

As a young boy, Patrick Kayondo’s dream was to become a builder having seen his father sustain the family on the various building contracts that he would get.

“We never lacked anything like salt and sugar because my father always had some money due to the fact that he never run out of work to do,” Kayondo says.

The 34-year-old says as a young man growing up in Kayunga district, he often worked with his father on some building sites where he learnt some of the construction skills.

Later after completing O-Level, he enrolled for a certificate in civil engineering at a private vocational institution in Mityana where he sharpened his skills.

“At school were not only taught how to construct buildings but also courses in financial management,” he says. This extra knowledge would later prove crucial.

After school, he set up a construction company with some friends and when the contracts started coming, he made some good money.

With more money in his pocket, his life dreams changed too.

“I realized that I could expand my revenue streams beyond the money I was earning from building houses. So, I decided to add money lending as one of the businesses I do,” Kayondo says.

At first, he says he used to lend fellow friends and relatives but later realized that he could make more money if he expanded his lending base.

Kayondo confesses that he is not a duly registered money lender because the process is tedious and bureaucratic. He however hopes to become one very soon.

At the moment, he offers small loans to informal businesspeople who cannot easily access credit from established financial institutions.

He says he lends between Shs 50,000 and 1 million.

“Majority of our people are engaged in businesses that have little capital so those are the ones I target,” he said.

He describes the money lending business as one that should not be undertaken by the faint-hearted.

He says he only lends someone money who has a national ID and has been referred to him by more than one person.

Flexible repayment terms

Kayondo says part of the reason why his business has expanded rapidly is because of the flexible loan repayment terms.

“One can decide to repay a certain amount of money daily, weekly or monthly whatever works for them,” he says.

Since most of his clients are people who engage in small businesses, they find the terms good.

At the moment, he charges an interest rate of 10% per month, which translates into 120% per year.

He acknowledges that this is high compared to formal financial institutions because of the risk of default can be high.
He says he started the business with a capital of Shs 2 million in 2015 but he now estimates that it is worth Shs 30 million, after seven years.


The biggest challenge are people who take loans but don’t want to pay back, Kayondo says.

“You give someone money and agree on the repayment period. When the time comes, they start giving excuses and some disappear,” he says.

The other challenge he says comes from the fact that he is not a duly registered money lender which put him at the risk of being cheated without any recourse to the law.

He says the process of registering a money lending firm can be tedious and bureaucratic.  This affects his credibility in the eyes of some of his would-be customers.


His advice to young people is to work hard and have a dream.

Always have a vision of what you want to be and work out ways of achieving that dream.

“Many young people don’t know what they want to be. They just go with the flow but if one is focused, they will succeed,” he says.

The other piece of advice for young people is to be modest and learn from people who are older than them.

Kayondo says when he was a builder, he learnt a lot from the experienced builders about life and its challenges and this motivated him to be a better person.

“You have to be humble and learn from others. That is how you will succeed,” he says.

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