He studied philosophy in school, was the head administrator of a school but ended up a builder and the owner of a chain of businesses. This is the reality of Mr. Olusegun Oshundairo; CEO, Arc View Real Estate Ltd, SEGOSH Investment Ltd and Chairman, Governing Council of Eko College of Management Technology, a private polytechnic in Lagos state.
Mr Oshundairo shared his journey with TS team regaling how he started from one room in Mushin to his next office at 18, Olutunda, Ilupeju and how he ended up with an operational head office at 314, Ikorodu Road, Anthony.
Tell us about your companies and how they started.
Our primary business is Arc View Real Estate. We buy and sell properties; we also develop estates. Presently, we have developed 10 estates across Lagos and Ogun states and already have residents in those estates. We help solve the housing problems, reducing its deficit in Nigeria. We also focus on low-income earners; helping them become landlords. We see our customers as partners.
We are also into the hospitality business. This business was born out of the need to provide accommodation for our clients in diaspora whenever they visit Lagos. Now, we have about three hotels under SEGOSH Investment Ltd. We are also into distribution. We are distributors to Nigeria and international breweries.
We also have a polytechnic school at Ikotun Egbe. This came to be four years ago when we thought of the legacy we want to leave behind. Our choice for a school was hinged on my past experience as an administrative head in a school. Last year, we got accredited to run four courses. We now have Mass Communication, Banking and Finance, Computer Science, and Theatre Arts. Our first convocation was last month.
What influenced the choice of this business? Did you study architecture in school?
I studied Philosophy at the University of Ado Ekiti, (UNAD) but my father happens to be an architect and when we were teenagers, we would join him in his office to design and draft designs, but I never knew that was what God would use for me today. So, my dad practically taught every one of his children how to design. After I left school in 2004 and did my compulsory NYSC in 2005/06, I joined a school as the head of administration until 2008 when I met someone who was into the building line of business and was doing fine. I thought to myself that I could also do this since I had the knowledge. So, I started as a marketer and learnt the theoretical aspect for about two years. I also learnt the field and administrative work, getting to know the entirety of the business before I started Arc View in 2010 with a friend, Mr. Idowu Okegbenro who is the current MD of the company. We started in a room somewhere in Mushin and then moved to Ilupeju and from there we are now at Anthony which we have now made the head office. We also have branches at Ajah, Mowe, and Agbara.
What vision do you have for this business?
The vision of this business is to provide affordable housing for all. We want to develop more estates, and in the last nine years, we have developed 10 estates. In the next 10 years, we should be having nothing less than 20 estates. We have already started another one at Sango Tedo. It’s about 500 plots of lands and we have started there. We look forward to competing with real estate companies in other countries. This company started with just 150,000 naira but today, we thank God for where we are.
At what point did you move to Ilupeju and why?
After spending about 8 months in Mushin, we saw the need to expand and so Ilupeju became our next office because it is central and close to Mushin. Then after about a year in Ilupeju, we needed to expand again, and that’s why we moved to Anthony.
What major project are you working on now?
We have many, but the major one we are running now is the Arc View home ownership scheme. This came to be because we discovered that our vision to provide affordable housing for people was not being realised because people were just buying land and not building. So last year we got a breakthrough by starting the project first in Mowe. It’s called Treasure Island Estate at Mowe, Ofada. We started building two-bedroom and three-bedroom bungalows for people at affordable prices and which can be spread over a period of three years with no interest. In fact, with 3.5 million, you can have a two-bedroom house. Within a year, we have been able to build 300 units and we are looking at 1500 units. We are also building now at Akodo, Ibeju-Lekki for those interested in that area. We started that one last year October and today we are almost done with about 50 units standing. Our workers are always working on the land. We can also build for those outside of our scheme. Just give us your design and we give you quotations. Pay us and we will build and deliver your house to you in record time with quality products.
Who are your clients?
They cut across all spheres of human life. From the low-income earners to the highest. We have army generals, police commissioners, government workers, nurses, there’s even a section called the judiciary quarters in the estate, we have for those in oil and gas. We are a company with over 10,000 clients in countries all over the world. We are free of litigation because we work with principle and the fear of God.
What do you think has given you a competitive advantage over other real estate companies?
Delivery. That has separated us from others. When you pay for something, we deliver in good time. There’s something about you buying and getting what you paid for and taking possession of what you’ve paid for and that is the major thing, the end result. We have been able to have a good platform for clients to have access to what they have paid for. That’s why you would see that in all our estates, people are living there. We don’t have omo onile troubles, we have C of O for six of our estates and the four are in process. So, we consider all factors.
What about the challenges you face in this business?
We thank God for His faithfulness but three years ago, the economic downturn affected us so seriously that the company almost crashed. Almost all the clients were coming to get their money back because of issues. So, there was nothing again. But thank God for diversification. We have been able to diversify, so money was coming in.
We have challenges definitely with some customers. You know, some customers wouldn’t want to pay up. But we try to follow up, encourage them, call, send SMS and sometimes place penalties on defaulters. All these would keep them on their toes from defaulting.
Is the company involved in any corporate social responsibility?
You know I said that we started in Mushin. So, I am a grassroots person. I grew up there and even hawked commodities for about 12 years. So, I am known there. Now we give back to society. So yearly, we distribute 100 bags of rice to the community. We also help those in need of jobs, admission to schools and house rents. So, we have a business that takes care of that area.
How have you been able to manage the business with the family without either suffering?
I have tried to set my wife up with her business. She is also a distributor with Coca Cola. So, she is busy too. And the children go to school until we all meet in the evening. And on Sunday we all go out as a family.
Are there any certifications your company has gotten from government or regulatory bodies?
Well, we have received an award of excellence of Most friendly CEO in Real estate. We also have one for selfless service in Mushin community as well as for our contribution to the society. We also have one from the government which is the youth leadership from Mushin local government.
Your advice to anyone considering going into this kind of business?
They should be hardworking and prayerful. These are the two secrets of success in business. A lazy person cannot succeed in this business because it’s a tough terrain. You need to be zealous and disciplined with your business. If these two are combined, the sky is there to accommodate you.