A Rags-To-Riches Story to Warm the heart
TuffGong Holdings Ltd is a company which trades in road construction and site excavation having successfully performed some of the most challenging projects in Uganda. Recently, it threw its weight behind the Sexy Speed Rally, being held in Jinja on the 26th to 27th November, with a contribution of Twelve million shillings. We thus pulled up a chair to speak with TuffGong Holdings Ltd.’s director, Mr. Julius Mutisa and fleet director, Mr. Faisal Kasagga in order to find out more about their interest in the Sexy Speed Rally.
RR: What does TuffGong Ltd. do and how long has it been in business?
I started as a driver and then Rajiv appreciated how I worked and he told me, “you don’t need to be a driver, according to the knowledge you have.”
RR:So Rajiv is a mentor to you?
Yes, we learnt a lot from him. He taught us that the heart that gives receives a lot. He gave a lot to me. He taught me as Julius Mutisa about the value of hard work. Thanks to him, I did a project like Speke Apartments and by then I was working under his management with Meera Investments Ltd.
RR:Mr. Mutisa, what is your formal training?
TuffGong:Previously, with Meera Investments Ltd, I started as a driver and then Rajiv appreciated how I worked and he told me, “you don’t need to be a driver, according to the knowledge you have.” So he raised me up. “I want you to be in procurement,” Rajiv added. But before that, he was giving me contracts in excavation works to do as I worked a driver. Rajiv said he couldn’t look outside for external contractor in such work when I could do the work, you can imagine such a boss. So I started doing site clearing and block transportation, like from CMI to Speke Apartments. Those were part time jobs, Rajiv was subcontracting me and he paid me well and still I got a salary as a driver! So where will you get a boss like that? I mean, thanks to him, I was even promoted from driver to procurement officer when I was appointed assistant procurement manager for Meera Investments Ltd. I performed this work for two years and then I kindly requested to exit and do my own business. Rajiv didn’t stand in my way as I left to start up TuffGong Holdings Ltd. and he even started giving me work to make sure I could start somewhere.
RR:How were the early days?
TuffGong:Good, not that we were only dealing with Rajiv but thanks to him we were so exposed and we started engaging in road construction because of him. He recommended us, for instance, to do jobs like the job of Lake Victoria Serena Kigo, he was the one who recommended me. He has been so good to us.
RR: What projects have you handled?
TuffGong: We mainly deal in site excavation and road construction. For example, if you want to start up a project and need to do excavation let’s say basement parking and foundations…football pitches, we do that. We started business in 2014.
TuffGong: We’ve done quite a lot of projects such as The Cube, we did excavations there. We have done Kingdom Kampala, Nakasero Hospital, Hardware City, Kampala Boulevard, and Lake Victoria Serena Kigo Golf Course and others.
RR: When you began, what was your vision and are you fulfilling it?
TuffGong: Yes, we are. We started small but now we are growing big. That time we started with a small truck, an Elf (a medium duty truck) weighing about 2.5 tonnes…we used to do site clearing and we used to hire machinery but now we own a fleet of ten trucks, ten Sino Trucks. We didn’t start with much but thanks to Rajiv Ruparelia, who groomed us, and made sure other investors got to know about us.