By Kingsley Adegboye
Noah Ibrahim, 27-year-old Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Novarick Homes and Properties Limited, is on a mission to change the stodgy real estate industry with the introduction of green energy and smart technology to real estate development. Having successfully sold out two phases of his maiden project, Earl’s Court positioned as the first renewable-powered community in partnership with ICE commercial power, Ibrahim has set the leading pace for other developers to emulate.
In this interview with Noah Ibrahim, he shares exclusive details on how he ventured into real estate and what inspired his concept of green real estate initiatives.
Tell us about yourself and your career
My name is Noah Ibrahim, I am 27 years old. I studied Mechanical Engineering at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State, and graduated with a 2nd Class Upper Division. At the early stage of my life, I ventured into several businesses in a bid to make money to sustain myself through school. While in secondary school, I came across a guy from the Northern part of Nigeria whom I began purchasing phones from and to resell to my peers. I made a lot of profit from this side business but 1 had to stop it in the tertiary institution because it was tedious running the business and focusing on my studies at the same time.
Down the line while still in school I started up a clothing line. I would buy clothes, jeans, and belts from Eko Idumota market in Lagos, and also I would travel as far as Dubai to buy goods as well. After graduation, I didn’t stay idle like most graduates would while waiting for call up letters for the National Youth Service Corps programme. Instead, Nola and I, a friend who is now MD of Veritasi Homes and Properties, started a joint business called Noah & Nola. We would buy and resell used clothing and shoes, this later metamorphoses into our own Footwear Factory and Academy. We awarded certificate to students that passed through the academy, although along with the line managing the business became tough as cobblers weren’t trusted with the kind of leather used in making the footwears and this brought the business to end.
An opportunity later came to us at ToLet, now Propertypro. We worked for them as an affiliate consultant to sell land. We met a lot of people in the course of searching for prospective buyers, While on the job, we met someone that introduced us to another property development company that paid even better commissions to affiliates. We applied and we were recruited to sell skyscrapers at Eko Atlantic. I knew it was going to be a challenging task because the buildings had not been completed and I had to convince prospects to invest about 25 million as part payment for the property. I gained a lot of experience in the process that eventually led my starting up Novarick Homes.
Family is a big influence on our lives, what member of your family has a big influence on your choice of career?
I would say my father because he was really supportive of me during and after my academic years. He is a strict and strong-willed man, whatever he sets his mind to achieve he gets it. One thing he instilled in me was his guts. I always follow my guts no matter how challenging a situation might be, though the experience I had was as a result of my association with people from diverse backgrounds, values, and cultures.
Why your chosen career?
It started in my shoemaking days. I realized how much value I wanted to add to people’s lives and I believe that once you give value, money would follow. I am a people’s person, I value platforms that empower people to showcase their talent and creativity. This was why I chose real estate because there is a lot of value addition in this sector and one of which is helping people invest in the future. Take a look at the Lekki axis, some years back it was cheap to own a property there but right now the city is a financial hub for most real estate companies. This was what informed my choice for real estate
Where do you envision your company in the next 5 years?
In less than five years, we want to be the go-to company for affordable housing. We want to be known as the primary promoters of green clean energy in property development. We also want to be known for building green communities across Nigeria, that do not run on a generator. We will have built over a thousand units of houses for families using prefabrication technology and be the go-to company for foreign investors seeking to invest in the Nigerian real estate industry.
How have you leveraged technology?
The sales of our first estate were majorly online. We meet most of the clients online and we have a good social media space. We came up with the Green theme for Novarick Homes by building greener communities. Our estates, Earl’s and Wazobia Court, are a solar-powered. We’ve also championed the development of greener communities through our renewable energy.
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
I’ve been taking risks all my life and that is what got me to where I am today. You will agree with me that taking risks is linked with entrepreneurship and it involves careful planning and hard work. I believe that once you set your mind on something without distractions the universe would make it happen.
What is your definition of success?
My definition of success is the ability to solve most of your problems with the resources at hand. As a human, we face problems at different spheres of our lives, so the ability to solve our problems consistently is what guarantees our success.
What is your greatest achievement so far? Any awards?
I received a sales Award from Dpkay in 2018. I closed approximately 150 million Naira worth of deals for the company under six months.
My greatest achievement so far is being able to run this company successfully for over a year notwithstanding the numerous challenges Nigerian entrepreneurs are facing in building a successful company. A lot of startups shut down before a year as a result of diverse challenges but we’re still here. We clocked one year on August 3, and our years are still counting.
Looking back, are there decisions you would have taken differently
In terms of project development, I’ve learnt to value our property more rather than the focus we place on getting the stakeholders’ return which was a major reason we experienced a delay in the sale of our first property. Although the experience has taught me to make decisions differently.
How do you give back to society? Any CSR projects?
I partnered with a friend’s company (Sanikky Kitchen) and being a chef by profession and we pioneered a campaign which is Feedthekids.ng where we feed approximately 100 kids every Friday for a selected month of the year. I have organized community service, shared books and bags to kids who cannot afford basic educational needs. As my own quota to achieving Cleaner Lagos, I partner with Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency on its mission to making Lagos Greener by planting trees.
What advice would you give to a person who is starting up a business in your field?
I would advise them to take value over money because value precedes money and to take their clients’ objections and satisfaction seriously. Our watchword at Novarick Homes is “Customer Satisfaction”. We value our clients. We don’t end relationships, rather we build relationships. Every aspiring entrepreneur should follow his intuition because your guts are your god.