Nigeria is recognised across the world as a nation blessed with a huge number of successful and purposeful Entrepreneurs who by their devotion and ingenuity are changing the narrative of the country and turning problems into viable businesses. They are high achievers who see only possibilities and are not ruffled by challenges they encounter, instead they ride on every opportunity to create amazing solutions.
Ogbonna Kaycee, the founder and chief executive of King Solomon Group, started as Okaycey Co.Ltd in 2009. Since then, the company has grown to become one of the largest Nigerian companies in Ghana, with about 100 employees.
Pleasures Magazine recently met with the Ndielu Ugwueke, Abia state born Mr. Ogbonna to share his experiences in the first of a series of interviews with Nigeria’s young, innovative and smart entrepreneurs who continue to make a difference in society, dedicated to improving their lives and other Nigerians. There’s so much to learn from this amazing Ghana based Nigerian entrepreneur. Be inspired as you read!Excerpts:
Congratulations on the recent opening of your Luxurious King Solomon Heights!
Thank You! We return every praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God
What aspect of your background or education has been most helpful to your experience as an entrepreneur that should resonate with the average Nigerian youth?
I would say its my humble upbringing as a child from a very poor home but God fearing parents. They had no money and so I had limited education, I had to start trading on the streets before I began my primary education and those experience built me into a very strong business minded person today. It’s also a proof to the fact that you don’t need to have rich parents or relatives to become rich or successful and also you can create your own wealth through hard work and trust in God even without government assistance.
Moving from Nigeria to Ghana, what is the story behind it. And why not UK or the United States?
At a point in my life, I became so frustrated with the situation at home, then I had dropped out of school due to lack of finances. I had several siblings that I felt needed help and there was not much I could do within Nigeria to help myself and my siblings economically, it was in the midst of that frustration that I decided to move out of Nigeria to Ghana in search of what to do in order to improve our economic life. I couldn’t go to the US or UK because I couldn’t afford it then.
When did it all began?
We started Okaycey Co.Limited in 2009 and migrated to King Solomon’s Group Ltd. In 2015 after we started and grown other subsidiaries.
What really motivated and inspired you to start King Solomon Group?
We formed King Solomon’s Group few years ago after we had started and grown few other businesses and we felt it will be good to bring all the businesses under one umbrella for better oversight and proper management
What are the challenges of running an international brand like King Solomon Group?
The Challenges are sometimes enormous but we already have been built overtime to withstand challenges. Some of the major challenges are that you will have to be multicultural and willing to adapt to different laws of different countries. for example, in our transportation section being an International transport line, we cover over 5 different countries with different rules and laws and so we will have to obey all these different rules in order to remain in business and we must be willing to learn and adapt in their ways of life to enhance cooperation.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I learn and think out of the box, I don’t assume that my belief or ways of doing things is better than that of the other person. So I always learn to listen and learn from the next person while I also make sure I hold on to the generally accepted or standard good behavior.
You’re also the founder of several other companies. Can you tell us about them?
Yes – We have Utility Financial Centre, King Solomon’s Chariots, King Solomon’s Properties Ltd, King Solomon’s Hotels, King Solomon’s Trade-Max, King Solomon’s Mobile Laundry, Sikatrust Ltd etc….
You recently unveiled King Solomon Heights in Ghana, what is the purpose for such a massive project, what inspired it and what is complex all about?
King Solomon’s Height is the cooperate Headquarters for the King Solomon’s Group. We control,oversee and manage the operations of all the other subsidiary companies from there. There are other facilities also available at the Heights like Conference Rooms, Furnished Apartments and Event Center which are open to the public for rent.
Tell us about your Utility Financial Centre?
Utility Financial Centre is a Financial service provider. We provide money transfer services and payment of all Utility bills and trade of Digital Currencies like BitCoin and Perfect money. We are working towards becoming a bank in the future.
What informed your decision to establish King Solomon hotel? What were your expectations? Have they been met?
Some years ago, I was living in a well furnished Five bedroom duplex which attracted several Nollywood and Ghallywood film makers to always come do movies in my house and sometimes will keep myself and my family awake late in the night and most times inconveniences us. By my nature, I feel happy being of help to promote people’s dreams and so I always find it hard to say no to the movie makers even though they inconvenience us, so I decided to move out of the house to a smaller house and rebuild the 5 bedroom duplex to a 10 bedroom hotel so that while they use it for movie making I will also make money from there. That’s how we started King Solomon’s Hotels
Tell us about King Solomon’s Properties and King Solomon’s Garden. What are the products available for buyers?
King Solomon’s Properties Ltd is a real estate company. We build, we buy, we rent properties within Ghana. We have several acres of well documented lands in all parts of Ghana for sale and we currently developed The King Solomon’s Garden – a chain of state of the art 4 bedroom duplex located in the heart of Spintex Road Accra Ghana, just behind the popular Dangpong Clinic. The King Solomon’s Garden is now ready for sale to the general public at affordable prices. We also have several houses and apartments for rent both for long and short stays within Accra Ghana and beyond.
King Solomon Chariots?
King Solomon’s Chariots is the transport division of the King Solomon’s Group. Its an executive transport line that shuttles within major west African cities like Accra,Lagos,Abidjan,Lome and Cotonou. We are gladly referred to as an alternative to flight and in fact our vehicles are actually Land-Flight. The Chariot is also a learning ground and preparation towards our future plan to go into aviation industry as we hope to unveil The Chariot Airline in the near future by the grace of God.
What has been your greatest achievement so far, in this entrepreneurial journey?
I would say that my greatest achievement so far has been the fact that I have been able to provide jobs to hundreds of African youth who probably would have been unemployed today, my most enjoyable moments are the pay days, when we pay salaries and I get Thank You messages from workers. It gives me some of sense joy and fulfillment knowing that we have affected the lives of human beings positively. Again, few years back all my siblings had no hope of completing their education due to the financial predicament of our family but now I have been able to see many of them through school and provided job for them as well. None of them is idle or poor now, they’ve all joined me in helping others go to school and providing hope to other friends,relatives and our communities.
If you could give prospective entrepreneurs 3 pieces of advice, what would those be?
Number one advice is – Let the welfare and success of people be your motivation. Any business venture that is geared towards solving a need in the society will most likely succeed. Number two – Think Big, Dream Big but don’t hesitate to start small, don’t wait until everything is perfect before you take the step because they’ll never be a time as such. Start from where you are now and with the little in your hand and be diligent with it. And Number Three – God is the ultimate, put him first!
What habits have you developed over the years that have helped you become successful at what you do today?
I have learn to trust 100% in God. I have learn that we can only be genuinely successful in life or business if what we do its centered around services to better lives in our community. I have also cultivated the life of humility and respect. Finally, I have learn to value TIME, because I realized that time is life, so I don’t spend my time any how be it on phone, on TV etc….. I make sure I spend time only on things that adds value to my purpose in life.
Who are some of your mentors and business role models?
My number one Mentor and Role Model is my Spiritual Father and Pastor – Bishop Gideon Titi-Ofei. He is both a pastor and an an Entrepreneur. Because of my religious background, I use to think and believe that being being wealthy or successful will deny me being Spiritual or Righteous until I met him and started listening to him then I realize that I can be wealthy and still be in best relationship with God.
What are the real or perceived threats to the Nigerian businesses in Ghana?
The major and real threat I see and has experienced are two, there’s a preconceived negative mindset by Ghanaians about Nigerians – The ability of the Nigerian business man or entrepreneur not to blame Ghanaians about this determines your success in Ghana to a large extent. Instead of being offended or angry at them for having a negative mindset about you as a Nigerian, spend that energy in doing positive things that will help change that mindset.The inability of Nigerians businessmen or entrepreneurs to understand and appreciate the Ghanaian way of life. Nigerian entrepreneurs must learn to understand and appreciate that Ghanaians are different from Nigerians and should not expect them to behave as Nigerians, you must appreciate whom they are before expecting them to understand and appreciate whom you are and your way of doing business.
What can unemployed youth who are interested in entrepreneurship do in current circumstances to become successful business owners?
Stop waiting for everything to be perfect and stop blaming anyone for any condition you find yourself. Start with anything you can do now and be diligent in it. I started as a laborer in the Tema harbor here in Ghana, I used to offload bags of rice and cocoa and did several odd jobs, I was once a street hawker, trading on the street of Accra, Ashaiman and Tema without a home, I sleep on the street and people’s veranda but I was not discouraged. I continued working hard from one step to another until I become better today. Stop seeing yourself as a failure due to your background and start doing the little things you can do,little things has the ability to become great things when hard work and diligence is applied. Be God fearing and shun crime, crime can not give a lasting success.
Tell us about your company’s Corporate Social Responsibility portfolio
We have the SEVEN SEED FOUNDATION and KING SOLOMON’S FOUNDATION through which we provide aid for rural education, assistance to the elderly in our community and aid to various orphanage homes and prisons.
King Solomon’s group is located at Baatsona, off Spintex Road, Accra Ghana
Tel: +233 202 182 187 / +233 302 821 016