Amb. Lawrence Emmanuel Oloche, CEO of Promiseland Real Estate is a young Abuja-based real estate entrepreneur on a mission to pull Nigerians out of poverty through real estate investment. Within a short time of his company’s entrance into the real estate market, he has established his company, Promiseland real estate as a major force to reckon with in the Nigerian real estate market. In this interview with the team of The Top10 magazine led by Tony Iji, publisher/Editor-In-Chief, Amb. Oloche shared the story of his business journey across several sectors climaxing in the formation of Promiseland where he is contributing in very unique ways to housing provision in Nigeria and in the process touching lives along the line.
Qtn: May we meet you, who is Lawrence Oloche and what is your organization, Promiseland all about?
A: Thank you very much Mr. Tony of the top10 magazine. My name is Ambassador Lawrence Emmanuel Oloche I am the CEO of Promisand estate.
Promise Land Estate is a company that was envisioned and incorporated on the 4th of February 2020 and we have a vision to move people from poverty to prosperity through real estate investment. Our mission statement is to provide 100,000 housing units in the next 10 years. So far, we have been pushing the vision and by the grace of God, we have been very purposeful about it.
Qtn: Can you give us an insight to where you are coming from to establish Promiseland?
A: Yeah, that is a very good question. Before now I have ventured into logistics, telecommunication and also Power Transmission and construction. In 2007 the mother company Fioloda integrity limited was incorporated in Lagos. We started off with logistics and transportation. Then fast forward to 2012, we diversified into power transmission and construction and we diversified again in 2020 into real estate. So, the journey has been good because as an entrepreneur, you want to see what is happening in different sectors and by the grace of God, to be realistic, it has been very interesting like I always tell people, real estate is a tool to generate wealth.
So, having been in other sectors, and coming down to real estate we are doing now, it is a very good move we have taken.
Qtn: What were the motivations. Was it accidental or it was planned that you want to go into real estate? What was the story behind your transition from one sector to another and now to real estate?
A: When I was a child, I think I was about 10 years old as at that time. You know in the village setting, you seat down under the moonlight and my dad will call and say come let me tell you about your roots and history and he will tell us about names of our forefathers and great grandfathers up to 5th generation and while he is doing that, we are bonding. So, one day he called me and said Emmanuel, come, after asking everybody, when it was my turn, he asked, what do you want to be? And as a child I use to see my uncle returning home with Mercedes-Benz. So, I told him, dad I want to have money, and everybody started laughing. I said yes, that is what I want to be. I want to have money and when I have money, I will buy you a pick up and I buy my mom Benz. He said no, why would you buy your mom Benz and get me a pick up?
So, it has been in me to be successful because when you are successful it gives you edge, prominence and it gives you authority, your voice will be heard. So, I knew that while I was young. So, whatever I was doing, my mind would always be; you have to be successful. So, I started off with Logistics. I am sure you know how Lagos is. If you have transport company, you will make money but I was still young then. At that time, I was 21 and with that logistics, that was when I made my first million. I became a millionaire at the age of 21 doing logistics, that means logistics was good, you know. It got to a point I said no, I can do better so I moved from logistics into telecommunication, building MTN mast, Etisalat mast, globacom. That took me round all the states in Nigeria. So, it was not just about money alone, it was about traveling to different locations and you know travelling is part of education so I knew a lot of places outside my state. Some of my friends, I used to tell them, I know your village, they will be laughing. I will ask where do you come from? From example, Ile-oluji. I told him Ile-oluji is in Ondo state and he was shocked and ask in surprise, how did you know that? I said, yes because I went there to build MTN mast. So, it has been interesting moving from one sector to another. It is a childhood dream of wanting to succeed so that has led us to do what we are doing.
Qtn: In going into real estate, what were the initial challenges and how did you overcome those challenges?
A: Before we went into real estate, we under study the existing challenges in the real estate. In Real Estate, there are so many issues around trust, there are issues around integrity, so many people have lost their money because their money went into fraudulent real estate developers. There are people you buy properties from, they will resell it without you knowing, there are people you buy property from and their lands are not genuine. So, we checked and understudy all those challenges.
Promiseland is going to make a difference. Promiseland is going to do real estate differently, that is what informed the vision statement which is to move people from poverty to prosperity. So, if our vision is to move people from poverty to prosperity, that means, one, you can’t lose your money here. Two, your money will be multiplied over time. There’s going to be return on investment within shortest possible time, that is why we said that we are not simply in business because we want to make money, we are very innovative to ensure that your investment appreciates within a very short time.
Qtn: Apart from that, what would you say is your competitive edge?
A: Yes, the first competitive advantage we have is in our brand name, “Promiseland”. My first degree is in marketing. In marketing, you have competitive advantages and that advantage is the branding and branding first is the name. So, we chose a name that people can relate with easily. We chose a name that by mentioning that name, it gives you a promise.
You know, when you say promise, we are promising you a good future, we are promising you that your investment can not go wrong with us. Investing with us with your funds and resources, we are giving you our trust that it will not go wrong. So, our edge is in our innovation, our integrity and the product and locations that we have are excellent. So that’s the competitive edge that we have over other real estate companies.
Qtn: Real estate is capital intensive, what are the methods that you use to finance your projects?
A: You know, trust is already a working capital, do you understand? For anyone to start a business, the first thing you should have is integrity. The second thing you should have is, you must have a very good business plan and strategy. You must have a good vision. When you have all these, there are people who will buy into your vision, when you have integrity. So even banks these days will not fund you if they know you don’t have a business plan, if they cannot relate with your vision statement, they cannot give you money. So that means, if you have a faulty business plan, bank cannot give you money because if they do, they know it won’t yield result. For us, we have a very good mission and vision statement and we have a workable plan, we also have integrity. That is what our clients can’t afford to loose.
Qtn: Promiseland has lots of projects all over the place, what do you want the public to know in terms of prospects in investing in those projects?
A: Yes, the public which is our investors, they have a lot of testimonies out there on our social media handles, they have seen that what we have promised, they have seen the dividends because we don’t just say things out of exuberance or because we want to sell, no, we are driven by this vision and every day, the keen innovations that come from promiseland is geared towards achieving the vision which is to create wealth for our subscribers and clients.
Right now, we have 12 locations. Our latest Project is called the Promisedland Penny City. Penny City is actually geared towards reaching the lowest trader in the society, no matter how much you are earning, from fifty to hundred thousand, you should be able to subscribe to penny city.
Penny city is for the low-income earners. So, all what we are doing no matter who you are in any sector, whether you are a policeman, teacher, civil servant, you can subscribe to our penny City.
Qtn: There are three major areas in Real Estate. We have luxury, premium housing and affordable housing. Where are you playing?
A: Yeah, that is a technical question. Promiseland is doing all because real estate has broad branches. You are either a real estate developer, broker, agent, property lawyer, surveyor, valuer and whole lot. So right now, we do development, we do site and service investment, we do land banking. So, the luxury we’re doing which is development is about 10% of what we are doing in Asokoro. We are doing 40 luxury terrace duplexes in Asokoro mainly. Also, we have a mass housing, Bungalow City, the smart City, penny city is also part of mass housing we are doing. We have land banking, that one is in Maitama 2, Idu Corridor. These are land banking because you can’t build there immediately. That means if you invest 2 million to 5 million in such locations in the next two years, your 2 million can become 10 million and your 5 million can be 20 to 30 million, that is for the land banking. So, all the sectors we are playing, depending on the client, we have middle class clients, we have low-income clients. So promiseland has varieties to choose from. If you want the luxury, we can give you, if you want to do land banking, you can do that in promiseland. If it is mass housing you can afford, we can do that. So promiseland is for everybody. That is why in our anthem song, the song was passionately written by me, then we looked for an artist that sang it. In the song, we say promiseland is for everybody, everybody is welcome to promiseland, whether you are rich, affluent or you are a low-income earner, army, soldier, you can be in the Promiseland.
Qtn: You are everywhere in Abuja, almost dominating the Abuja market. What is the scope of your presence in terms of spread, where and where are you apart from Abuja?
A: Yeah, right now, all our projects are in Abuja. All the 12 projects are in Abuja. We are looking at expanding, we have expansion plan to eight locations in Nigeria. Eight commercially viable locations in Nigeria. Currently we are in Abuja, we are looking at Lagos, Ibadan, Asaba, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Benin city and Warri. So, we have all of that planned out. Our physical office will be in London by January. We are supposed to have that in November but because of so many activities, we couldn’t. By January, we will launch our office, physical office and then in march we will open it in the United States of America, US.
Qtn: You mentioned so many cities, you didn’t mention your state, Benue. What is the state of real estate development in Benue and its potential?
A: Benue State is not economically viable. When I was mentioning those locations and states, I said economically viable. Real estate is capital intensive and as a business man, you would invest in a location that will bring returns within a particular period of time due to time value of money.
For example, even here in Abuja, there are locations we don’t invest until we have done our study to be sure that within certain period when we buy those land, it will get returns. Because, you need to invest in a place that people can subscribe. If you invest in a place people cannot subscribe, that means your funds is tied down there. For Benue state, about 80% to 90% of the population are civil servants. So real estate will not do so well except it is state funded project, and right now, government has zero percent contribution to what we are doing. That means we won’t want to tie down investment in a state where we will not be able to sell.
Qtn: There is so much ignorance about investment in the real estate. What is promiseland doing to sensitize or educate people to buy into investing in real estate? Because people are scared of investing in the real estate.
A: I think that question was asked because knowledge is power. For you to become rich or wealthy you must have knowledge in that particular subject. That is why we have what we called Motion Summit by promiseland. Motion Summit 1.0 was January 8 of 2022 and Motion Summit 2.0 will be January 2023. Emotion summit is about bringing youths to teach them why they must participate in the real estate space because real estate is about creating wealth and to participate in real estate doesn’t mean you must have money to buy. Like I mentioned in the value chain, you can be a broker, you can be an agent, you can be a surveyor so long as you are part of any of these value chain, you will make money, you will create wealth. So promiseland has a program already to sensitize the public and we are looking at opening it up not just to the youths but everybody who is interested and is 100% free. Motion summit is a free ticket event. We bring speakers to teach them for a whole day and I can tell you more than 40% of those who were at 1.0 are now brokers making money in millions. So, this is what promisedland is doing to add value to the society
Qtn: What do you consider to be promiseland’s major contribution to the housing development in the last two years?
A: Yeah, we have created a niche, promisedland has brought in a new dimension to how real estate should be in Nigeria and because of our contributions and what we have done, I was given an award last year as the most respected CEO of the year. The recommendation came from the public and I came out as the winner of the most respected CEO of the year under real estate. The event was held at Transcorp Hilton in December 2021. So, this is part of what we are doing. It shows that, we are contributing hugely to the society.
Qtn: What are your incentives to your investors apart from the integrity and the other things you mentioned. Are there specific incentives for those who are investing with promiseland?
A: Yes, we do. We have several incentives. During promotions we have special packages for those who have already invested. Earlier this year, between March 2022 and May, we did what we called the 60 days to promiseland. 60 days to promiseland was carefully designed to have people subscribe to our vision, the vision to create wealth. So, during those 60 days to promiseland, all you need to do is to register with N10,000. It is like an application, just register, whether you are buying or not. So, we had over a thousand people that registered and those people are potential subscribers. So eventually, most of them did and by that registration, it gives you 50% discount. That means, a property you are supposed to buy for 5million, we are giving you 2.5million back. So, our subscribers and our investors, most of them are our marketers right now. They are telling others about the good news and about what they have benefited from promiseland. They are telling people of how their investment has turned around. So, most subscribers have brought in over five, some over ten of their friends to become part of promiseland. If you bring your friends, there is special incentive during yuletide season and during holidays, we have things that will give out as appreciation to our clients. So, we have done so much and they can attest to that. We have testimonies that validate all what we have done for our investors so far.
Qtn: Within two years, you have achieved so much, the profile of promiseland is rising very fast. What do you attribute this rapid growth to?
A: First, I would say is God. It is God that lift man and I would say, our sincerity. We are honest, the vision is very clear and we are very articulate. Whatever we plan, we ensure that we delivered, so that builds investors’ confidence in what we have done and because of that, most of our investors are people that are highly placed in the society. Some are top government officials, we have politicians. So, any support that we need, because they know promiseland is not just about the CEO, promiseland is about everybody, so they took themselves into that vision to support not just by buying anymore but because they are part of this vision, whatever that we need to actualize this vision, they come on board. So, it is about sincerity of purpose. It is part of what has made promiseland scaled to where we are and our journey is still ahead, we will still move far.
Every month, there are things we must do and we ensure that we deliver them. So that is what made promiseland where we are in the last two years.
Qtn: Talking about the journey that you mentioned, what are your future plans in the next five years? Where would you expect promiseland to be and in specific terms, what are those things you want the public to know about such plans?
A: Yes, we believe in the next five years, promiseland would have delivered almost half of its mission statement.
The mission statement is to provide 100 thousand housing units. So, in the next five years, we believe we should be in eight locations that we plan to expand to. In the next five years, we believe we should have pulled more people out of poverty to prosperity. In the next five years, we believe that those that are working hard, those that are earning legitimate money should be able to have their own home. In Nigeria, people after working so hard, they retired without having home and you know after food, the next challenge of a man is accommodation and imagine when a civil servant after retiring does not have a accommodation, it’s so frustrating and devastating. So, we are ensuring that, so long as you are working and earning, we should have more people owning their own home through promiseland.
Qtn: I will ask you of government policies. How are government policies affecting your business operation and real estate business in Nigeria?
A: Real estate is highly regulated in Nigeria. You have the ministry of works and housing, the ministry of Federal Capital Territory authority, etc.
Also here in Abuja, we have master plan. You cannot just stand up and do whatever you want, so you have to go through the right processes of approval, the right processes of building and construction so it is regulated and because it is regulated, we must play along with those policies of government to ensure that we are not at the wrong side of the law. So far, we have been able to build good relationship with the agencies and the government authorities.
Qtn: Talking of corporate social responsibility, what have you done in that area in the last two years?
A: In the last 2 years we have done quite a lot. Promiseland has the interest of every community we sight our project. Right now, we are doing three curvets, some people can call it bridge. At Lugbe axis, there is a community there without road because water has divided the road. So, we are constructing that road right now which is part of corporate social responsibility within that community. Also, in Idu, we are doing the same thing. We are constructing another box curvet. The bridge there create access to the whole community which we will benefit from. Apart from that, every month, we have a program that assist wondows within all the communities that promiseland is resided by giving them food and relief materials.
We also want to increase that by providing medical assistance and support to those communities as well.
If promiseland is in your community, you are sure that these things that I mentioned, we will certainly provide them. That is our corporate social responsibility.
Qtn: What will be your parting words to the general public?
A: I want to enjoy the general public that promiseland estate is where your investment is secured, it is a place where you invest your money and you can create generational wealth. Within the past few years, we have done it. The testimonials are there in the social media and our clients can attest to that. We encourage you, so far you are working and earning, you should invest in promiseland estate because we have integrity, we have empathy for our investors. Empathy means we relate with what people are going through in the housing sector.
A lot of people with family don’t have home after they retire. It is so devastating that is why promiseland is bridging that gap. No matter how much you are earning, come to promiseland, we have a project that can accommodate you.
Qtn: On a final note, as a business man, how do you relax?
A: Yes, I love soccer, I love football. My son plays soccer and he is 9 years old. Most times, I travel with him. We discuss football together and I love travelling. Travelling for vacations and I relax more when I travel. I also read a lot. Basically, that is how I socialize.