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Hardware World: How Simon Ssekankya Built East Africa’s First Hardware Supermarket Empire

There can’t be too many bankers who choose to leave the hallowed halls of banking for the dusty and gritty world of concrete factories and stone quarries but that’s exactly what Simon Ssekankya, founder of Hardware World, did in 2001!

The Rise of Hardware World: A Landmark in East African Retail

To be fair, Ssekankya has come a long way since those early days and spends more time now in his office atop Hardware World in Ntinda, plotting the expansion of his empire.

From humble beginnings as a small hardware shop in Kalerwe, he is naturally proud to have the region’s first Hardware Supermarket which stocks everything from nails and cement to bathroom and electrical fittings displayed over two floors.

He says that the expansion of his business wouldn’t have been possible without the support of dfcu Bank, a 20-year-old relationship which he views as a true partnership. “They have been with us from the beginning, including financing the purchase, construction and stocking of the main office of Hardware World in Ntinda, which was well-timed to take advantage of the new construction happening as the city’s boundaries began to expand into Kiira municipality.”

Unique Banking Solutions: dfcu Bank’s Role in Simon Ssekankya’s Success

Simon Ssekankya credits dfcu with being unique and continually going beyond the provision of traditional banking services and lending money. “They genuinely practice what they preach when it comes to their Know Your Customer slogan. I’ve been a banker so I admit I can be very demanding of my bank, but dfcu does not adopt a one-size-fits-all mentality. I am very particular about what is best for my business, but they have been able to meet my wildest demands, which means a lot in any business where liquidity is key,” he said.

“They’ve provided bespoke solutions and products to help with our daily operations and offer advisory services and due diligence on our suppliers and clients. Very importantly, dfcu takes care of the longer-term financing requirements needed to grow the business.”

Ssekankya notes that the stable business he has built over the years has contributed to individual and community development in the areas where his company does business. With over 130 people and thousands of agents in the country and region employed across this value chain, his responsibilities include the provision of a livelihood to thousands of Ugandans across the country and region. This achievement is a testament to the trickle-down effect of sound financial backing and support.

In acknowledgement of the fact that this growth is also due to those who have supported his businesses, Ssekankya has committed considerable resources to the construction of churches and hospitals, provision of community health services, and supporting the homeless in various communities around Uganda.

Future Ambitions: Expanding with dfcu Bank

Looking to the future has never been a problem for the proprietor of the first Hardware Supermarket in East Africa. He has big plans and is confident that dfcu will continue to play a pivotal role on that journey.

“In coming years, I hope to see even more dfcu branches countrywide and in the region. For instance, I would love to bank my money in Juba and have access to it in Kampala instantly,” he said. He also wants dfcu to embrace cutting-edge innovation and technology, and become more automated so that he can do all his banking from the comfort of his office.

This former banker knows what he wants and along with dfcu, is building his empire brick by brick.

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