From a young age, real estate investor Olabisi Akanbi has portrayed a keen sense of entrepreneurism.
The story of the property market in Lagos cannot be told today without also stating the immense strides of Akanbi, one of the few forces behind the emerging market boom of the industry in the commercial nerve centre of the country. For this 36-year old founder of LABO Group, he’s had business stints in entertainment, automotive and media but his penchant for success led him to real estate where he is now well decorated for excellence in business and philanthropy across Nigeria via his LABO Foundation, a platform he floated in 2019. Prior to now, Akanbi had proceeded to the United Kingdom to further his education at the Cavendish College, London. He then proceeded to the St. Patrick’s College also in London where he bagged a Bachelor of Science Degree in International Business Management. He immediately returned to Nigeria and delved into the property business having understudied several multinational and indigenous civil construction companies including Cappa D’Alberto. He later floated LaFAITH Property Company and since 2012, the real estate firm has been realizing its strategic objectives by engaging in multiple projects with each of them unique and exciting —his imprints are all over Banana Island and Parkview Estate both in Ikoyi; Alimosho, OPIC Isheri, Magodo GRA and Lekki/ Ajah axis just to mention a few. With every new venture being more innovative than the last, Akanbi gained real- life experience through the implementation and execution of his risk-taking and thrill-seeking ideas as evidently seen with the latest commercial activity his real estate firm engaged in terms of sheer size: the ongoing multibillion naira LAFAITH Resorts in the Lagoon front of Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos. The mega project when completed, Spotlight learnt, will give its occupiers a bit of Monte Carlo experience in Lagos. Creating value propositions for people is of paramount importance to Akanbi.
He believes making money in and of itself is not the be-all and end-all. He is passionate about what he does, and whenever he puts his mind to something, the end product must be the creme de la creme. For the unassuming Epe, Lagos-born Akanbi, it’s important to complete projects that serve a purpose and fulfill a need in society. One of the reasons he’s always having something new up his sleeve that will impact the Nigerian talents and the economy as a whole. At a point, the fast-rising real estate mogul wants to help groom homegrown talents for a global showcase. And as a mark of seriousness, a subsidiary of his group —LABO Entertainment— brought many creative talents including Konga, Sideone, Eco- man and Smapee together and helped mold them into wave-making artists. In April this year at the height of the global pandemic, Akanbi signed popular singer, Dotman, to help reposition his career.
It’s important to prepare sensible business plans for all strategic decision-making processes but Akanbi bases most of his decisions on gut feeling. And it has worked for him severally. Professionally, the LABO Group boss admires Mr. Bisi Onasanya, the former managing director of First Bank Nigeria and currently the Chairman/CEO of The Address Home, a leading real estate Investment group in Nigeria. The young entrepreneur is learning the ropes about luxury living business from the former banking chieftain. Akanbi also looked up to another creative investor in the real estate sector: Siji Ogundele of Sujimoto fame for creating unique projects every time. This diminutive entrepreneur has advice for budding entrepreneurs and start-ups: Simply ‘Go for it! Mistakes will happen – that’s a natural consequence of business ventures. Learn from them. There are cyclical patterns in business activity; that’s the way it goes. Learn to think and learn to adapt to change.