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Ultimax Security Services’ Collin Kopyoto. Credit: BAI/Stefan Daniljchenko
For anyone looking to work or invest in PNG, security is a crucial component of doing business. Ongoing law and order issues have resulted in a booming private security sector, estimated in a 2021 report to be PNG’s third-largest employer.
While by no means the largest player, Port Moresby-based Ultimax Security Services has become an industry leader, recognised at the PNG SME Awards in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Established in 2014, Ultimax now employs over 300 people, recently expanding to Lae, with plans to add Mt Hagen and Wabag in the future.
Having studied graphic design in Canberra, founder Collin Kopyoto initially hoped to build a multimedia company on his return to PNG. When that failed, he returned to the work that had supported him through university.
‘I realised that I could do something with security because, while I was studying and working at the same time, I learned some good things – how to [deliver] work in time, how to be professional. So, I thought, why not create my own employment?’
As well as supporting himself, Kopyoto also sought to build pathways for his first batch of staff, many of whom did not see security as a viable career.
‘In PNG, we see security as one of the [lowest] jobs on the ladder,’ Kopyoto says. ‘So I had to change their mindset, show them that security is an honourable job.’
Kopyoto says this early focus on professional service helped Ultimax stand out from its larger competitors.
‘I wanted to be different, with some of the things I learned when I was working in Canberra,’ he says. ‘With many of the local firms, I realised that their presentation and dress codes weren’t to standard – so those were the little things I had to capitalise on.’
Developing a reputation for professionalism opened other doors too — Kopyoto credits early clients Kumul Consolidated Holdings and the Mineral Resources Development Company with growing Ultimax’s profile. More recently, that reputation has led to finance support from Credit Corporation, which provided a pleasant surprise for the formerly cash-strapped SME.
‘Instead of me going after the finance, they did their own assessment and approached me,’ says Kopyoto.
Kopyoto rates overcoming negative perceptions about security services as one of the biggest challenges in running Ultimax.
‘It’s [about having] a good team that believe in your dream, and how you try to make that dream everyone’s, and get them aligned with what you believe in.’
‘Ultimax is one tribe, it’s our tribe,’ he says. ‘We have each other’s back. And the things that we value in a tribe, I try to add some of them into our little tribe, something common that all of my team can share.’
Kopyoto is optimistic about PNG’s economic outlook, although he notes the need for local companies to be ready; Ultimax has recently gained a number of ISO certifications.
‘Hearing about all the mining and things that are happening – I don’t want to just maintain: I have to pull up my socks and meet the requirements, train my team and get ready.’
Well done Ultimax ! Also an inspiring piece of story from the founder himself !! Tumbs up👍👍
Well done Ultimax keep on keeping on bro. God bless 🙏
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Source: Bank of PNG