'Use your business to do good' are the profound words of Zimbabwe's leading woman entrepreneur, Divine Ndhlukula. And, she has made sure to live up to them. Through her company, Securico, she has always delivered on her strong desire to empower previously disadvantaged women in Zimbabwe who were not able to access opportunities for formal employment. She recognized that the security sector had the potential to be a large-scale employer of women. Today, Divine is the single biggest employer of women in her country outside of government. She is a real changemaker!
According to Divine, “What Africa requires are entrepreneurs that start up and create not just wealth for themselves, but employment for others, because that is what is vital for sustainable development.” Young entrepreneurs should, where possible, look to have a positive social impact in their environments, she emphasised. “One of the things I noted in my country was that women were not getting the opportunity to get formal employment, in particular the many widows and the single mothers due to HIV/Aids. Today our company is arguably the largest employer of permanently employed women. We employ over 1,000 women, contributing at least 25% of our workforce.”
Who could imagine that a business that started with just four employees in a little cottage and very little capital would eventually grow to become one of the largest security firms in the country?
In less than 16 years of doing business, SECURICO has achieved a number of unparalleled feats: The $13 million (revenues) company now has more than 3,400 employees – 900 of whom are disadvantaged women, making Securico the largest employer of women in the private sector in Zimbabwe. In her interview with BBC African Dream, she shares her joy:
“Most of the women that we employ here are single mothers, we targeted them primarily because we knew that they were not going to get an opportunity from anybody and they would not be able to look after their children. So this is an opportunity for them to have a livelihood and to educate their children. We employ close to a thousand women now, about 900+ and to me that’s one of the happiest things I’ve done in my life as a person because I have impacted very positively on women who would have not have had an opportunity, who would be eking out a living and possibly even going out to sell their bodies to make a living.”