How SafeBoda is navigating Uganda’s Business Landscape

SafeBoda
5 min readSep 6, 2023

By Derrick J. Katushabe, PR & Advocacy — SafeBoda

Thriving in Uganda’s business space has proven to be a daunting challenge for Scalable Startups, and this remains a persistent issue. One glaring example of this difficulty is the closure of many ride-hailing companies in the country for the past 5 years.

Several factors have contributed to this setback, including the absence of a clear legal framework for such platforms. Limited access to Start-up capital, high costs of internet & access to internet and lack of coordination & among players in the industry have hampered the growth of ride-hailing companies, making it economically unviable for them to operate.

Globally, startups face similar impediments, from fierce competition to regulatory uncertainties, making it an uphill battle for many entrepreneurs striving to establish and sustain their ventures in an ever-evolving and highly competitive landscape.

For the past nine years, SafeBoda, Uganda’s most innovative ride hailing company has not only survived and thrived but also led the way in the country’s unrecognized ride-hailing sector. What sets SafeBoda apart from the rest? It’s not just about the rides; it’s about the values.

Community, Innovation, Transparency, Safety, Trust, Integrity, and Commitment. These seven words encapsulate the essence of SafeBoda and have been the guiding lights for the company since its inception. Through thick and thin, these core values have remained unwavering.

Community — A Shared Journey: SafeBoda understands that its success is intrinsically linked to the communities it serves. From the outset, the company has taken a proactive role in building a strong community. Whether it’s creating job opportunities, supporting local charities, sponsoring community events, SafeBoda is firmly committed to making a positive impact on society.

Did you know that SafeBoda has empowered upto 30,000 plus Boda (Motorcycle taxi) and car drivers only in Uganda by providing employment? SafeBoda has went ahead and offered land loans, phone loans, school bursaries, among others which have enabled drivers improve their livelihood.

And not only that, SafeBoda has always provided its premises — the SafeBoda Academy as a health camp for Malaria, Covid 19 vaccination, among others. This has acted as a quick vaccination point for Kawempe and surrounding division dwellers and the driver communities.

The ride-hailing company is continuing to promote women inclusivity through its Gender Agenda program where women are recruited, trained on road safety, bike riding, self defense and given a career to help change their lives and break barriers of gender inferiority complex. Over 30 plus women earn a living now as SafeBoda riders.

Innovation — Pioneering for Progress: Innovation is at the heart of SafeBoda’s DNA. The company has constantly evolved its technology to ensure drivers’ and passengers’ safety, convenience, and comfort. With features like super app features, in-app navigation, in-app chart, cashless payments, and real-time tracking, SafeBoda has set new standards in the industry.

It should be noted that SafeBoda is the very first ride-hailing company in Uganda to digitize Boda Boda transport through the usage of a mobile application. Many companies have appreciated and joined the industry after recognizing how possible it is to organize the Boda Boda sector.

Transparency — Building Trust through Openness: SafeBoda understands that trust is paramount in the ride-hailing business. That’s why the company has gone to great lengths to be transparent in its operations. Clear terms and conditions of use, and open communication channels have earned SafeBoda the trust of its customers and drivers alike.

SafeBoda has a 24/7 customer support center where both drivers and customers can reach out by phone call or through its dedicated social media channels for support. Sometimes the App might over charge the customer or under charge the driver; such scenarios are resolved through recalculating the affected trip and harmonizing within the systems then concluded by reimbursing the affected party.

Safety — A Non-Negotiable Priority: The “Safe” in SafeBoda is no mere marketing slogan. It’s a commitment to the highest safety standards. The company’s rigorous driver training programs, helmet distribution initiatives, and continuous safety monitoring ensure that customers can rely on SafeBoda for a secure journey.

SafeBoda drivers are trained to respect traffic lights, wear protective gear like reflective jackets, helmets and also carry a passenger helmet. In further recognition of the importance of Safety, now drivers and customers on premium — plus trips are insured up to 25 million just in case of an accident.

Such initiatives have been put in place in order to clearly indicate how important the lives are for both drivers and customers.

Trust and Integrity — The Cornerstones of Partnerships: Building trust goes beyond safe rides. SafeBoda treats its drivers as partners, not just employees. It ensures fair earnings, support for their families, and opportunities for career growth which have endeared the company to thousands of drivers. This trust has been the foundation of SafeBoda’s success.

Drivers have their own special communication channels and engagements for feedback, focus groups to discuss how best they can be served. Did you know that SafeBoda also partners with over 600 mobile money agents that support its fintech business? These have supported drivers and customers have access to payments and transactions through the App super easy.

Commitment — Through Thick and Thin: SafeBoda’s commitment to its drivers is unwavering. Even during the toughest times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the company stood by its drivers. In 2021, SafeBoda was at the forefront of advocating for the lifting of the curfew on Boda Boda drivers, in recognizing the importance of their contribution to the transportation of people and their livelihoods.

Additionally, SafeBoda’s commitment doesn’t stop there. The company strongly believes that the Boda Boda sector in Uganda can operate with regulations, sanity, and under security guidelines. It continues to engage in advocacy efforts to ensure the sector’s sustainable growth while maintaining safety standards and supporting the well-being of its drivers.

SafeBoda’s advocacy extends beyond its own interests. It champions the entire Boda Boda sector, regardless of the drivers’ companies or individualities. This commitment to the greater good has earned SafeBoda not only the loyalty of its drivers but also the respect of the entire industry.

In conclusion, SafeBoda’s journey in Uganda’s business space is a testament to the power of the business values. All business players in Uganda private and public are encouraged to focus on the core values that define their businesses, this will always provide a sense of uniqueness and foster a stronger need to stay in the market.

Community, innovation, transparency, safety, trust, integrity, and commitment have been the compass guiding SafeBoda through challenges and successes alike. SafeBoda’s dedication to its drivers and the broader Boda Boda community demonstrates that a business can thrive while staying true to its core values.

As it continues to innovate and advocate for a safer and more organized sector, SafeBoda remains a shining example of what it means to lead with integrity and purpose.

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SafeBoda

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