- His start-up story and how he achieved success
….I BELIEVE IN THE CULTURE OF SAVING TO INVEST. I USED TO SAVE 2,000 NAIRA EVERY WEEK DURING MY NYSC YEAR AT COSCHARIS COMPANY, AND IT IS WITH THAT MEAGRE SAVINGS THAT I MADE MY FIRST REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT WITH THE PURCHASE OF FIVE PLOTS OF LAND AT THE COST OF 100,000 NAIRA IN ILORIN, THE KWARA STATE CAPITAL, IN 2009, AND THAT’S WHERE IT ALL STARTED .
Gbadewole Amos Kayode, is 34 years old Ilorin born indigene of Oyo state in the south western region of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He had a real humble background, but he has risen from his deep humble background to a giant force in the real estate business, providing accommodation for hundreds of thousands of Nigerians and foreigners alike across the federation. Today, he is a force that no one can overlook in the business of real estate in Nigeria and beyond.
EARLY LIFE: Gbadewole hails from Oyo State in the southern part of Nigeria, but he was born and bred in Ilorin, the capital city of Kwara state. His father was a commercial bus driver, and his mother, a petty trader. He never had the opportunity of enjoying the kind of luxury that most of his peers had. However, Gbadewole is thankful to his parents who he said sacrificed all of their own pleasures to make sure that he got a sound education.
‘I come from a real humble background. My father was a commercial bus driver but he was a real disciplined man. My mother was a petty trader. I used to assist my mother in hawking some of her wares for her after school. It was from that hawking adventure that I first learned my entrepreneurial skills. Whenever I went out with some wares to hawk for my mother, I would not come back with any of the wares but complete money. My mother used to be very happy with me for that. She would lift me up joyously, praise me lavishly for selling all the wares, and bring home the complete money for the wares. Her lavish praises used to give me morale and courage to do more the next day. From that, I learnt that it was good for one to work hard and achieve results in whatever that one does. The proceeds were not really much to afford us a luxurious lifestyle, but I learnt from my parents that I have to be contented with what we had. I was happy even though I did not have the opportunity to enjoy the kind of luxury that I used to see most the children of the apex and middle classes around us enjoy. However, one thing I am very thankful for is the fact that my parents sacrificed so much of their own pleasures to make sure that my siblings and I had a sound education.’
EDUCATION: Gbadewole Amos Kayode attended the Federal Government College (FGC), Illorin, Kwara State. From there he secured admission at the University of Ilorin, Kwara state, where he bagged his first degree in Economics. After graduation from the University, Gbadewole proceeded on the compulsory one year service to his father land through the National Youth Service Corps programme. After camping, he was deployed to serve with the Coscharis Company in Abuja as his place of primary assignment. After his NYSC service year, Gbadewole went on to do a master’s degree in Finance and, today, he holds a P.hD in view. He is also a chattered banker, having sat and passed the Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria’s examination.
BUSINESS SKILLS/INVESTMENT IDEAS: As stated earlier, Gbadewole started his business skills acquisition at a tender age from his experience while hawking for his mother. He took this with him into his life outside of their home. During his NYSC service year at Coscharis Company, Gbadewole developed the habit of saving 2,000 naira out of his meager weekly allowance. He had a definite sense of direction and that exact idea of what he wanted to do in life. So he gave up all momentary pleasures to save his money so that he could achieve his goals.
‘I used to save up 2,000 naira every week while I was serving at Coscharis Company because I wanted to make sure I have a fairly good sum to start some business shortly after my service year. At the end of my service year, the Company considered me good enough to work with them and decided to retain. However, I was given three weeks to go home and rest before I can return to work. By then I had saved up the sum of one hundred and eighty (180,000) naira. I was thinking of what to do with the money. Fortunately, I happened to come by a small pamphlet accidentally during that time which talked about opportunities that abound in the real estate business. The pamphlet specifically narrated the story of a certain civil servant who used his wardrobe allowance to buy a piece of land somewhere in the Ikoyi part of Lagos. About twenty years later, the man reached his year of retirement and retired accordingly. According to the story narrated in the pamphlet, this man bought the piece of land for seventy-five thousand (75,000) and sold the same size of piece of land for eighty million (N80m). This struck me immediately. Therefore, when I got home I told my father to help me and find a place where I could buy land. He did and I bought five plots of land in Ilorin at the sum of one hundred (100,000) thousand naira and used the remaining eighty (80,000) thousand to register myself for the Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, CIBN’s course. At the age of 28, I built my first house, a three-bedroom bungalow on one of those plots of land in Ilorin.’
WORKING CAREER: Gbadewole worked with Coscharis Company for about five years. During this time, he continued to save up his earnings for any investment opening that could come his way. He also made some few bulks from the Nigeria Stock Exchange when the Nigerian Capital Market was doing well. Gbade never missed any opportunity to save money, knowing exactly what he wanted.
THE START OF THE REAL ESTATE BUSINESS: While Gbade was working with Coscharis Company. However, he never loses focus of what he wanted to do. Sometime in 2015, an opportunity presented itself. He was at work when a certain individual he had established a business contact with in Abuja called to tell him that he had negotiated for a piece of land in the FCT but didn’t have the money to pay for it. Gbade took advantage of this opportunity and the business started from that humble beginning. He quickly applied for a loan of about one hundred and fifty (150,000) thousand naira from Coscharis Company to add to what he had save and paid for the land in partnership with the negotiator and began to develop it. While developing the property, interested buyers made deposits for the various kinds of properties they desired and he reinvested the money in other properties, and the business began to grow from then on. Today, Gbadewole’s real Estate business with the brand name-Crown Luxury Estate, has four four Estates (Crown Luxury Estate, Airport Road, Hill Crest Estate, Guzape, Asokoro Extension, Hybrib Estate, Dawaki, Gwarinpa and Crown Capital Estate, Kubwa), Abuja with well over sixty-six blocks of buildings.
Responding to questions on how his real estate business has grown so rapidly within a relatively short time, Gbade said that he often reinvest all his earnings in his business rather than buying luxury cars and such things to lead an ostentatious lifestyle. He stressed that the reason for this was that he has a vision that stretched far ahead of him, and so he does not see himself as one who has arrived to begin to lead an ostentatious lifestyle.
‘I thank God for where I am today, but I don’t see myself as having arrived. I used to plunge back greater part of what was should have been my profit in every investment into the business for expansion. This is because we still have a long way to go judging from our vision. Our dream is to build and own estates in the capital cities of all the major countries of the world. That is my focus for now.’
Gbadewole said that Crown Luxury Estate looks forward to providing secured housing accommodation for Nigerians at home and in Diaspora, stressing that their properties have modern security gadgets with which their clients whether at home or away from home can keep track of the security of their properties anywhere and anytime. ‘That is Crown Estate selling point,’ he said.
Gbade added that Crown Estate currently have ambassadors in Canada, London, Qatar, Kenya and so on. These ambassadors seek stand as representatives for Nigerians in Diaspora who are looking to acquire properties with guaranteed security back at home. He also emphasized their company has properties for all classes of people in the society. There are properties for the low-income class, the middle-income class and the affluent, ranging between five million (5,000,000) naira and two hundred and fifty million (250,000,000) naira respectively.
CHALLENGES: Like doing any other business, the business of Real Estate has numerous attendant challenges. First, the banking system in Nigeria does not encourage budding entrepreneurs in any way to explore the business opportunities that are available in the country’s economy. This makes it extremely difficult to utilize the many business opportunities in the country. He added that the situation is even worse in the real estate sector, which requires huge capital investment to venture into it. However, Gbade said that the challenges notwithstanding, the real estate business is a very lucrative business that he would encourage anyone that has the mind to do business to venture into and make some fortune for him.
In response to the perennial problem of mass migration of the Nigerian youths out of the country, which has often led to brain drain, as well as maltreatment of the our people outside their home country, like xenophobia in South Africa and extra judicial killings in many other places, Gbade said he sympathized with the youth of the country, stressing that it was a pathetic situation that needed urgent and drastic intervention by the government. Even so, Gbade admonished the youth to look inward and see what they can create and offer to the society and the sky will be their beginning point. He advised that the youth should learn how to stoop and serve so that they can learn from those who are succeeding in what they do. On this, he has created a scheme that on his own encourages all his seventy staff to save up from their salaries and also have a share of investment in his business so that they too can learn the art of the business to become bosses of their own some day. He teaches them all the nitty grities of his business without reservation so they can one day become even more successful than he is doing now. He gave an example of his staff who was able to make as much as twenty-five (25,000,000) through such scheme and is now doing his own business. He said he is doing that so that he is workers would not work for him forever but become bosses of their own after some years.
PHILANTHROPY: Gbadewole is a philanthropist to a fault. A simple example to illustrate his philanthropy can be seen when he gave out his first, as a gift to one family he chose not mention their names.
SUPPORT FROM WIFE: Gbadewole did not miss a word while pouring encomiums on his wife Olubunmi who he said is a medical professional.
‘My wife is matron, but she is more of a business woman because she comes from a business background. She is a much-focused woman, and I must say that I am lucky to have her as my wife. She once advised me to sell my car and put the money my business. That really paid off. That she could offer me such advice simply showed that she means well for me and that she is not a liability. This why I will advise all unmarried young people out there to think it through and through before they make their choices of who they want to spend their with. They should not be carried away by the outside beauty but what the woman has in the inside of her.’
ADVICE TO GOVERNMENT: The government has a lot to do in area of encouraging young entrepreneurs to go into business. The relevant authorities should make policies that will make it relatively easy for young people who have business ideas to access fund by way of startup capital from the financial institutions in the country. When more young people get into business and actually do, the rate of poverty level in the country will go down reasonably and the rate of crime will go down in about the same ratio.
Office Location: The company, Crown Allied Global and Homes Limited is located at Plot 1267, Ahmadu Bello Way, Jima Plaza, Area 11, Opp. Gtbank Plc, Area 11, Garki, Abuja.
Tel: Call or WhatsApp: +234 909 999 7341 , +234 909 999 7342.