‘Meet the Boss’ is a How we made it in Africa interview series where we pose the same ten questions to business leaders across the continent.[hidepost=9][/hidepost]
Divine Ndhlukula, founder and managing director, SECURICO, Zimbabwe.
1. What was your first job?
2. Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?
My parents as they were business people who worked hard and built a formidable business. I then knew that was the route I would follow. In my later years as a young woman, I then met some very formidable women who had made it and was inspired to know that it was indeed possible for an African woman to define her own destiny by just believing in oneself. One such defining moment for me was in The Hague in 1985 when I attended a conference on women empowerment and met one Esther Ocloo from Ghana.
3. What parts of your job keep you awake at night?
Issues to do with the level of corruption brought by competitors who offer bribes to some of our clients to get them to sign on with them. The clients’ focal persons then bring out all sorts of reasons and manners to try and get you out so that they can give the contract to the person offering bribes.
4. What are the top reasons why you have been successful in business?
- Training and skills development of our employees
- High employee engagement
- Efficient internal systems
- Customer focus
- Service quality
5. What are the best things about Zimbabwe?
- High literacy levels
- Good climate
- Abundance of minerals
- Availability of a highly qualified labour force that is willing to work
6. And the worst?
- Policy inconsistency
- Political country risk (overrated at times)
7. Your future career plans?
8. How do you relax?
- Read, read and read
- Time with family
9. What is your message to Africa’s young aspiring business people and entrepreneurs?
Seek opportunities that are plenty in this emerging African economy, then embrace risk to actualise them. Along the way you need to believe in yourself, have loads of determination, work hard and be the best that can ever be in your chosen market.
Keep a sober head and remain focused. Do not rush to conclude that you have made it. Always expand your dreams and reinvest your money into the business. Avoid the trap of leading a luxurious life at the expense of the business.
10. How can Africa realise its full potential?
- There is need to walk the talk. To have the moral courage to implement the brilliant ideas we have to the full.
- The private sector must be given its role to lead and drive the economic recovery of our countries.
- There must be national shared visions by all stakeholders in the public and private sectors.
Divine Ndhlukula is the founder and managing director of SECURICO, a security service provider in Zimbabwe. In 2011, Ndhlukula won the Grand Prize at the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship for SECURICO.