Kofo Akinkugbe is recognised globally for her entrepreneurial success story and strong business track record. She is founder & CEO of SecureID Nigeria Ltd a market leader in smart card technology and digital security. SecureID is a world-class manufacturing facility with the only smart card production plant in West Africa and one of only six on the continent. This company serves 16 countries across Africa and is fully certified by VISA, Verve and MasterCard. In 2012, Kofo won the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship Mature Business Award.
Kofo is one of Africa’s thought leaders in the subjects of entrepreneurship and innovation in the technology sector.
This remarkable Nigerian woman founded a company that is recognised globally as a market leader in Africa’s smart card technology and digital security industry.
After serving in the Nigerian Youth Service Corps, Kofo started her career in the banking industry, working with International Merchant Bank Plc and Chartered Bank Limited. She remained in the financial sector for over 12 years until 1997 when she left to start Interface Technologies, a security management and biometrics technologies company. With a mathematics major, and an MBA from the University of Strathclyde, she successfully ran Interface Technologies Ltd. (ITL) for nine years, before establishing SecureID Nigeria Ltd., an offshoot from a small department in Interface Technologies and the first VISA certified plant in sub-Saharan Africa.
“SecureID has been recognised as setting the standard for innovation and creativity in the SmartCard Sector in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Kofo is a business leader that recognizes the power of innovation as a vital factor for business success, something she not only encourages in all her employees at Secure ID, but in the many business conference speeches and presentations she gives around the world. As chief executive of Secure ID, which is still a relatively young firm creating MasterCard and Visa and operating in 16 African countries, Kofo is an excellent example of a chief executive that is building a successful company based on innovation. Speaking at a forum recently on innovation on the CEO’s agenda, Kofo urged business owners to build capacity that will sustain the creativity, that is, developing the capacity of employees. She however cautioned against engaging only family members, urging the need to employ people with untapped talents. She said: “We need to create an environment that would drive creativity. Do not be afraid to test new things,” she said. Her company has succeeded by thinking ahead, developing a product that was not yet in demand at the time it was being developed. She added, “We must be creative, ensuring we are a step ahead of competition,” also stressing the need to make it a company policy to encourage employees to be creative and to track returns on investment based on staff creativity. She asked, “How effectively do you measure and track the returns on your investment. Does the way you innovate reflect your vision and appetite for innovation. Encourage staff to be innovative, do things innovatively.”
Today, Kofo’s company, Secure ID, is Nigeria’s leading Smart Card Manufacturing and Personalization Plant; providing comprehensive end-to-end payment, identity management and digital security solutions for the financial services sector, telecommunications, government, education, healthcare and private enterprises. Located in Lagos, the company is fully certified by VISA, Verve and MasterCard, and operates a world-class production plant employing best practices and international standards. The company’s client base spans over five (5) African countries and is the leading EMV certified card plant in West Africa, one of 6 in Africa and a member of the elite club of only 80 such companies in the world. It’s vision is to be Africa’s leading smart card solutions provider specializing in payment, e-identification and security solutions company.