Bayo Lawal And Lukman Shobowale: Defining New Trends in Real Estate
By Yemisi Suleiman
Bayo Lawal and Lukman Shobowale are the co-founders and CEOs of Dukiya Investments, a real estate firm created on the notion of giving her quota to bridge the housing shortfall while also defining new trends in real estate development.
The partners explain their job trajectory, friendship, and the growth of the real estate landscape. They share the same philosophy on life and are actively benefiting society through their career path.
Lukman Olawale Shobowale
Lukman Olawale Shobowale holds a B.A. in History and International Studies from the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, as well as an MBA from Ajayi Crowther University in Oyo State. Lukmon, a seasoned realtor, has embarked on an extraordinary adventure in the real estate sector, brokering worldwide deals for billions of naira. He offers his business techniques, motivation, and altruistic side, with his philanthropic project.
Your position as CEO and Co-Founder of Dukiya Investments has been a source of inspiration to many. What motivated you to establish this company, and how do you envision its long-term impact on Nigeria’s real estate landscape?
Dukiya Investment was established with the aim of addressing Nigeria’s housing deficit while revolutionising property ownership for Nigerians. Our primary mission at Dukiya is to redefine comfort, create joy, and guide our clients’ homes safely.
We aspire to extend our mission statement across all segments of society by enhancing their real estate experience sustainably while championing innovative housing solutions that tackle Nigeria’s current housing crisis estimated at 24 million.
What’s your go-to-market sales strategy that resulted in two successful real estate projects’ sale? Could you please provide some insights into this approach and its effectiveness?
The art of selling requires intricate skill sets as there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes down to sales conversion techniques. I consider selling as an innate ability refined through constant practice over time; making a ten-billion-dollar sale can be as simple as marketing a thousand naira’s ice cream cone, based on your target audience coupled with confidence in your approach.
What advice do you find yourself giving most often, and how do you nurture your team members’ talents towards achieving excellence in this competitive industry?
A recurring piece of advice I give my team hinges around using what they possess to achieve what they desire; meaning not allowing any unique abilities or skills to just sit idle but leveraging them toward unlocking great opportunities. As a company committed to employee growth, Dukiya distributes a certain valuable amount of time and resources towards training our team members. We also develop them by allowing them to exploit their strengths, allowing them to use their talents, and empowering them with projects and leadership roles.
Nigeria’s real estate market is dynamic and ever-trending. How do you stay ahead of the curve concerning market trends and property valuations to assist your clients in making well-informed investment decisions?
I am a personal thinker; I intentionally dedicate quality time to staying abreast of the latest insights and influences in the real estate market, as well as in personal development research.
What are some of the significant challenges you have encountered as a young professional in commercial real estate, and how did you overcome them?
Initially, credibility posed a challenge. Overcoming this required consistent delivery by building a robust track record, while continually educating myself to demonstrate expertise.
Your educational background includes an MBA and a BA in History & International Studies. How did these studies impact your career path and how do they shape your business approach?
Learning is a forever-lasting art that sharpens our skills, mindsets, and refinement into valued gems impacting work done, talent management, customer experience, and the world at large. Tapping into the expertise and experience of fellow students, world leaders and veteran business executives, broadened my horizon and significantly enhanced my innovative edge.
Beyond the business realm, you’ve been volunteering at Slum2School Africa. How has philanthropy affected your outlook on life, and how do you balance both career responsibilities and other social responsibilities?
The Bible states that it is more blessed to give than to receive. A quote by President George Bush also stated that there could be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others. Philanthropy has opened my eyes to see how far a simple but, genuine act of kindness can go in touching a life. So in life and business, I operate with the consciousness that I am not just living for myself but for others too. Nevertheless, in a bid to strike a work-life balance, I ensure that my philanthropic responsibilities are spelled out to avoid conflicts of interest and disappointments.
Can you share Dukiya Investment’s plans? What key milestones or achievements do you expect to reach in the coming years?
Thus far, Dukiya has become a household name in Nigeria. Our mission statement, ‘Redefining comfort, building joy guidance home’, is now known internationally across multiple countries including the US, UK, South Africa, and Brazil. Our vision at Dukiya is to be the best real estate company in Africa providing superior estate management solutions to people from different walks of life.
What is the key to success for a real estate business?
Adaptability and integrity. Being flexible to market changes while maintaining ethical standards is crucial.
It’s the year 2024; what are your projections for the future?
My vision involves leveraging technology for efficient property management while expanding our portfolio and enhancing accessibility to homeownership for more Nigerians.
In your opinion, how can Nigeria create an enabling environment for businesses like yours to thrive?
It’s about creating an investor-friendly climate by simplifying regulations, improving infrastructure, and fostering stability that will attract global investment.
With Nigeria’s ever-increasing population; how can we foster youth involvement in all levels of society within the industry value chain?
Educational initiatives such as mentorship programs or internships exposing youth to career paths in real estate would be fundamental to achieving this goal.
If you were the president for a day, what would you change about Nigeria?
I’d prioritise infrastructure development to bolster the economy and provide a solid foundation for businesses.
What motivates you to keep going despite the difficulties?
The desire for impact. Seeing how our work transforms lives and communities is a constant source of motivation.
What one piece of advice would you give any aspiring developer reading this?
Embrace learning. Stay curious, seek mentorship, and never underestimate the power of perseverance.
Bayo Lawal is an entrepreneur, author, seasoned realtor, and award-winning leader who has motivated many people to achieve success through his leadership skills.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Kwara State University, Malate. He graduated from the prestigious Lagos Business School, where he studied Business Administration and Management. He also holds an MBA from Oyo’s Ajayi Crowther University. He also attended the Rome Business School in Rome, Italy.
His areas of competence include strategy, human capital development, project development, and management. In this capacity, he currently mentors over 300 young professionals.
How did the idea of founding Dukiya Investments come about, and how did your backgrounds and aspirations influence the company’s vision?
We started Dukiya with the sole aim of reinventing comfort, and building smiles while leading our client’s home.
In your partnership with Lukman, how do your distinct educational backgrounds and entrepreneurial experiences contribute to the success of Dukiya Investments?
Our extra-curricular activities, varying dispositions and points of view, have been invaluable assets to the growth of our organisation.
Has your friendship and shared history influenced the values or core principles guiding Dukiya Investments? If so, in what significant ways?
My partner and I share rich values and principles that have in many ways upheld the company’s image in good light.
Can you recall a defining moment or decision in your partnership that reinforced your trust in Lukman’s capabilities and solidified your collaboration?
The good of the company has always been at the forefront of both our decisions, and what resolidifies our faith in each other is how we choose the company over ourselves.
Beyond professional endeavors, how do you maintain a strong bond and support each other personally within your partnership?
We continue to oil the wheels of our friendship, in a bid to eliminate the potential risk of friction in our relationship; frictions which could impede the health of our relationship as business partners.
Could you delve into your background and share how your personal experiences shaped your path toward real estate and entrepreneurship?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur; from my days of selling books and laptops. Also, my partner and I were friends even before we ever ventured into our existing relationship as co-founders.
Dukiya Investments has shown impressive growth. Can you give us insights into the core values and principles that have contributed to the success and trustworthiness associated with your real estate ventures?
People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do, and when you consistently do what you say you will do, trust is established between you and the other party. As a brand, one of the core values that has amplified our brand appeal is our track record as a ‘talk and do’ brand. We go the extra backbreaking mile, just to ensure that we deliver on our promise of excellent and unmatched property solutions to our clients. Integrity is the essence of a truly successful organisation, and that is our narrative thus far.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as a young professional in the commercial real estate industry and how have you overcome them?
A significant challenge was navigating initial skepticism due to my age. Overcoming this involved diligent research, showcasing innovative ideas, and earning trust through consistent delivery.
What steps did you take to break into the commercial real estate industry?
My approach centered on self-education, seeking unconventional mentorship from diverse industries, and leveraging my analytical skills to provide fresh insights into market trends.
You’ve been recognised as one of the most influential young people in Lagos. How do you perceive the responsibility that comes with this recognition, and how do you use your influence to make a positive impact on the community?
I regard it as both a privilege and a prized opportunity to be positioned rightly to influence young leaders and entrepreneurs, and one of the ways I do that is by mentoring a select few personally, while also sharing invaluable nuggets and insights culled from my years of experience and exposure as an entrepreneur and leader.
Can you give insights into the real estate market in Nigeria, its growth potential, and the role Dukiya Investments plays in shaping the industry’s future?
In Nigeria currently, there is rapid urbanisation taking place across major cities, and that has paved room for emerging markets. With the surge in population, coupled with the growing housing deficit in Nigeria at an estimated 28 million, there is an increased demand for housing and infrastructure development.
Amid these happenings, the real estate market is a vibrant sector with inexhaustible prospects for economic expansion via the provision of sustainable housing solutions to serve residential and commercial purposes. This is where Dukiya Investment comes in to contribute her quota towards bridging the housing deficit while also setting new trends in real estate development in the industry.
What’s your vision for the future of Dukiya Investments? What milestones or achievements do you see on the horizon?
So far, the Dukiya brand has grown beyond being a household name in Nigeria. We have introduced our mission of reinventing comfort, building smiles, and leading people home, to foreign countries including the US, UK, South Africa and Brazil, etc.
Our vision for Dukiya Investment is to be the best real estate company in Africa, providing unmatched real estate solutions to people from all walks of life.
Looking back at your journey together, what advice would you offer to young entrepreneurs seeking to establish a thriving business partnership like yours?
Look well before you leap by ensuring that your values align and you share similar aspirations for the future.