Katende wields his way into millions from a skill he learnt as a child

Abdul Karim Katende started his metal fabrication company in 2015, a few years after dropping out of school where he had just completed his Ordinary Level.

He started the company out of a skill he learnt as a child in his Primary Seven vacation while living with his grandmother.

In 2008 while in Primary Seven vacation, a young Katende was taken by his grandmother to her friend who was doing well in the wielding business to ensure he has something to keep him busy.

“I told her I was tired of just sitting at home without doing anything. Lucky enough, she had a friend who was doing wielding and asked him to allow me join his workshop to have something to do during the vacation. I was welcomed to the wielding workshop,” Katende begins his story.

He says that during holidays, he would return to the workshop to continue learning and after four years, he had perfected his wielding skills.

Uncertainty sets in

He says that after completing his senior four, the grandmother could not easily afford fees to enable him continue with studies at Advanced level.

“Even my family was not financially stable. My fellow siblings also had to be taken care of and paid school fees for yet I had reached some level. I then decided to permanently start welding for a living,” Katende says.

He says the skills and experience he acquired in four years were enough to ensure he joined the welding world and he was employed at the workshop where he learnt from.

Katende says that at one time, a client took him to Kenya to help him set up a machine and paid him well and another took him to Rwanda for similar work.

“From these two projects, I gathered some capital and in 2015 I started my own workshop in Uganda in Makindye Lukuli, a Kampala suburb.”

Katende says he named his company Modern Machines Technology but later changed it to Katende Welding Services.

He adds that throughout the years, the company has grown by leaps and bounds and now employs more than six fellow youths.

“The company deals in everything that can be welded,” he says.

 He says during the Covid-19 pandemic, he got a number of orders to make several products including bar soap making machines for people.

“One of those was current Minister for Investment, Evelyn Anite who asked me to fabricate a laundry bar soap machine that she installed in her home area in Koboko. It now produces soap and I am happy to be the heartbeat of that company (that produces soap),” he says.

He says he buys the steel he uses to fabricate machines from Ndeeba but also from Chinese factories.

“When a client gives me an order, I ask them to detail the purpose of the machine they want me to fabricate for them. I then go to google and read about it and what it can take. I then bill them and ask them to give me time before the machine is ready,” Katende says.

He adds that he has also made use of YouTube where he has learnt additional skills.

“Our company offers after sale services to our customers. If there is a broken part, we repair it. Because we don’t want to lose a name, we can do these repairs on credit and get paid later,” he says.


The youthful CEO ofKatende Welding Services has a piece of advice for fellow youths who seek to be successful in life.

“You must find what you love. Go with what you love. Don’t force yourself into something.  Always be patient and you will find the right thing for you. Know that luck only favours a prepared mind,” the father of two says.

He says that any youth with an idea ought to put it into action and this way it will be realized.

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