Editor’s Note: In this Edition of Applause Most Influential, Blossom Ozurumba played host to Kemfon Daniel who is steadily building Decade Housing to the next level as he effortlessly maps Uyo to global reckoning. In addition, he is shaping his community for good as the Incoming Curator of the Uyo Hub of the Global Shapers Community and he is not stopping.
He readily comes across as a serious no-time-for-jokes self starter but a closer discovery revealed Kemfon Daniel Ugo to be a delightful bundle of seriousness and banter. He grew up in the Oil city of Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria and had his fair share of schooling there. From Aladumo Educational Centre to Christian Council to Spring Field School before he was whisked away to his home state, Akwa Ibom to embrace his local culture. This saw him enjoy various educational experience from Lutran High school to Holy Family College and finally to give in to his father’s desire to see him become a Science Scholar, moved to the prestigious Science College. This was however not without some drama as Kemfon intentionally started failing his grades as a way of paying his father back as he already knew that his life direction was leaned towards the Creative Arts.
He finally had his way and transferred to the College of Arts and Science where he wrote his Senior School Examination albeit three times. This was due to reasons of ill-health at the first attempt, over sleeping and missing two two papers at the second attempt and in the third, he told himself, “this is it Kemfon. You have to make this happen.” He studied like he never did and in that same year he got an admission to study Estate Management in the University of Uyo even though he had earlier planned to become an accountant.
While in school, he embraced several entrepreneurial strides from dry-cleaning to barbing salon to kerosene retailing which all failed due to inexperience, non-sustainable business processes and zero monitoring of his staff. He tried his hands on a book club social enterprise as he looked up to Toyosi Akerele’s Rise Network Project. This was relatively successful as it made him a household name in the State and stayed the test of time. In his sophomore year, he moved out of his parents’ house, started footing his bills and has not seen a reason to go back home except for social calls and family visitations.
He had the opportunity to intern with the Property Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and this brought to the fore, his passion for real estate and that was how the Decade Housing dream was birthed. On graduation, with the help of a friend he built a proper structure on the property management company and kick started the firm from the ground up. The immediate competition came from other companies that has operated in their community for several years. It took lots of innovative thinking and technology driven approaches to take up some of their market share. Another challenge they had where the unlicensed property hunters that had more knowledge of street information. They approached their local agency forum and offered to create an online hub for them to share their knowledge in exchange for clients to view at the comfort of their homes, make decisions and Decade Housing shares the professional fee revenue with them. This is only a stop gap measure for Decade Housing as their main business thrust is property management and they are committed to staying focused.
The bigger picture for Decade Housing is to go into full housing construction with an initial plan to roll out affordable buildings and subsequently move into the luxury housing market. The demands of the job has however not taken undue pressure on Kemfon’s social life which he describes as really cool. He works very well and to reward himself, plays very well. He is also committed to shaping his community the right side up and he volunteers his time with the Uyo Hub of the Global Shapers Community which he joined in 2014. He has served as the Director of Projects and the Deputy Curator and has been nominated as the Incoming Curator for the hub.
Kemfon owes much of his personal and entrepreneurial development to the superb mentorship he has received over time from the likes of Toyosi Akerele who was at a point in his life, the only person who ever inspired him. Steve Harry, Jude Ibe, Sijibomi “Sujimoto” Ogundele are some awesome mentors that has added optimum value to him. He is also thankful to the immense support he has received from his three siblings and his local church pastor, Abel Idanusa at the Power City International Church. He is however quick to note that as much as he thinks Uyo is his playground at the moment, he still hopes that he can make the decision to move to Lagos and disrupt the market a little bit. He has been advised to move on several occasions and has seen several opportunities where he would have moved but he is not fully persuaded. The future will definitely be there for the taking.