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The entrepreneur behind the SECURICO success story:

by Davison Mudzingwa
06 Dec 2011 at 08:56hrs | Views
Photos: Fazila Mahomed
HARARE - "Getting to the top ten out of 3300 companies in Africa is great for me and my team," Divine Ndhlukula, director of SECURICO says of her company's nomination to the 2011 Africa Awards for entrepreneurship finals. SECURICO is the only southern African finalist in the Legatum and Omidyar Network sponsored awards. SECURICO is also one of the three women led companies in the finals.

"Having received a lot of accolades in the past 11 years has always inspired us to do even greater things and it's very pleasing as our efforts are being recognized," added Ndhlukula

Among previous awards is Empretec Zimbabwe's entrepreneur of the decade in the service and retail sector.

However, the recognition did not come easy for Ndhlukula. She battled gender prejudice and a high risk economic environment in Zimbabwe. And the fact that she is woman, Ndhlukula says: "I had to work five times harder than the average man in my industry to get noticed. That won the day."

Ndhlukula was born and bred in Gutu, the third largest district in Masvingo province in Southern Zimbabwe. She was brought up in a family that had business interests. That was just one aspect that would orient her for an entrepreneurship life.

"I was very good in school and my father was my biggest cheerleader√¢‚Ǩ¬¶he used to tell everyone that I was going to be a great and successful person in life," recalls Ndhlukula.  "That really motivated me."

The Harare based entrepreneur speaks glowingly of her father. She still remembers her father saying: "This is the one that will be looking after the family when I'm gone." And she is living the words.

SECURICO was founded out of need for a service-focused security company. Like many success stories, the idea was conceptualised at her Harare home and the company hatched in the cottage, with just four employees. Ndhlukula had to shrug off immediate challenges though. Her supportive husband sadly passed away after suffering from a kidney failure.

Ndhlukula fought hard to retain the dream. Competition was tough in an oligopolised industry. Security giants such as Midsec and Fawcett led the industry then. "The market was not convinced on my capacity to deliver in a hirtherto male dominated industry," she says, "and the way to manage that was being the best…and the market was sure going to recognise a good thing coming out our company."

With savings from her previous employment and general trading, she got the company off the ground, prioritising quality service and short turnaround time, quicker than the established players.

And now SECURICO is the first security company in Zimbabwe to be ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) certified. The growing venture provides guarding services and electronic security solutions.

SECURICO has more than 3400 people on its payroll, 900 of which are women. This makes the company the largest employer of women in the private sector. "I started the business to create financial security for my family and myself and also to be in a position where I would make a huge impact on other people in particular, women."

SECURICO also sets the trend in providing perks to employees. These include medical aid, education, housing facility, death insurance.

"Our vision as SECURICO is we become a leading security organisation in the Southern African Development Community region and continue to grow at the targeted rates and make our company a truly international business."