Divine Ndhlukula – Founder & Managing Director of SECURICO: Leading Zimbabwean Security Company
Today in Fem Geek, we take a look at a Zimbabwean who is making Zimbabwe hit the headline for all the right reasons. Ms. Divine Ndhlukula is the proud founder and the Managing Director of SECURICO: one of the largest security companies in Zimbabwe. SECURICO is based in Harare and is one of the country’s most recognized security company that provides the best guarding services and incorporates the latest cutting-edge electronic security solutions.
Ndhlukula currently holds an Executive MBA from the Midlands State University and an Honorary MBA from the Women’s University in Africa. Her journey started by her earning a diploma in accounting from an institution in Zimbabwe, after which she got a job with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation serving as an accountant. Later she obtained a job with Old Mutual and received another job with a local insurance company. One impressive thing you should not, that while she was employed in these companies, she still ran a small business on the side. She was ordering clothes from factories in Harare and selling them to her colleagues at work, other times she gave her friends the clothes to sell on her behalf and in return she would pay them on a commission. Within no time, she got into a position to buy an 8-tonne truck, which she hired out to a certain construction company.
Later on, her family was entangled in a financial debt with the bank and the situations threatened to turn out worse: the bank auctioning their ancestral land which her brother bestowed upon (according to African tradition a woman can’t inherit the land) to recover the loan they had given to Divine’s brother and he was not able to service. This forced Divine to sell off her truck and use the proceeds to rescue the family land. Henceforth the lease title to the land was transferred to her. This is what lead to her starting a career in farming, and made her quit her formal employment. To kick start her farming business, she took a loan using her home in Harare as the collateral, but luck would seem not to be on her side, since that year Zimbabwe had experienced a drought which made her maize crop not yield anything commercially viable.
She was faced with the same predicament as her brother, the bank threatened to auction her house which she used as collateral to get the loan to finance her farming activity that yield nothing profitable. At this point she decided to go back to her former employer and ask for her old job back. She got re-employed by Intermarket Insurance (current ZB Insurance) mainly because she was an outstanding employee during her employment. Upon her employment, she quickly rose in rank to the executive level.
During this time, she started learning about the critical elements that make a business a success, probably in a bid not to meet the same fate that met her when she went into the farming business. She got herself into various development programs one of which is the Entrepreneurial Development Program that sharpened her entrepreneurial skills immensely. She did not quit her employment, even though she kept thinking of various business opportunities she could engage in.
It was at this time that she identified a market niche that she could come with a product to fill that void. It was then she came up with the idea of a security firm, since the existing security services lacked professionalism and quality services. The security industry at the time was marked by two groups of companies: 1st Group comprised of long established and big companies. At this time they were about 5 of them, and they literally dominated the market and exploited their arranged monopoly hence did not need to meet their customers’ expectations. The 2nd group comprised of smaller emerging/submerging companies that were plagued with either insufficient resources to service big & multinational companies.
Divine’s decision to enter the security business was based on the core understanding of service and value added as the key to making it. Although she literally had no capital or security, passion and determination to succeed is what pushed her to making it in this male dominated field. She founded SECURICO on the December of 1998 in a cottage small home in Harare with just 4 employees: three security operatives and an administrator. While she did most of the office work like accounting, training, supervision, deploying the security operatives with just one vehicle. She converted her servant’s quarters into an office that was only furnished with one desk. Currently SECURICO earns more than $13 million, and she has more than 3,400 employees on the payroll with more than 900 of whom are women. Her career in SECURICO led to her winning the prestigious Legatum Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship