Sanmi Adegoke is not your typical property developer. He is the founder and CEO of Rehoboth Property International, a company that specializes in transforming old entertainment venues into places of worship for black-majority faith communities in the UK. He is also the co-founder of Rehoboth & Stephen, a joint venture that focuses on building affordable housing and community facilities. He has been recognized as one of the first black recipients of the Entrepreneur of the Year award at the 2021 Property Awards, a prestigious event that celebrates the best in the UK property sector. But his journey to success was not easy. He faced racism, discrimination, and financial challenges along the way. How did he overcome these obstacles and build a multi-million-pound property empire? This is his story.
From Nigeria to the UK: A Dream of Greener Pastures
Sanmi Adegoke was born and raised in Nigeria, where he lived with his parents and three siblings. He had a comfortable and happy childhood, surrounded by love and faith. His father was a pastor and his mother was a teacher. They instilled in him the values of hard work, education, and generosity. Sanmi was a bright and ambitious student, who excelled in both academics and sports. He dreamed of becoming a lawyer or a doctor, and making a positive impact in the world.
But his life changed dramatically when he was 15 years old. His parents decided to relocate to the UK, in search of better opportunities and a safer environment for their children. Sanmi was reluctant to leave his home, his friends, and his culture behind, but he trusted his parents' decision and followed them to London. He hoped to find a new and exciting life in the UK, but he soon realized that it was not as easy as he had imagined.
Facing Racism and Discrimination: A Reality Check
Sanmi and his family settled in south London, where they joined a black-majority church and a diverse community. Sanmi enrolled in a local school, where he continued his education and made new friends. He adapted quickly to the British culture and lifestyle, and learned to speak English with a British accent. He was eager to fit in and prove himself, but he also faced some challenges that he had never experienced before.
One of the biggest challenges was racism and discrimination. Sanmi encountered racism for the first time in his life, when he started working at McDonald's, his first job in the UK. He was hired as a crew member, and worked at the grill and the till. He enjoyed his work and was proud of earning his own money, but he also faced abuse and hostility from some customers, who would use racist slurs or refuse to be served by him. He recalls:
"It was shocking and hurtful. I didn't understand why they hated me so much, just because of the colour of my skin. I felt like I didn't belong here, like I was less than human."
Sanmi did not let these incidents affect his performance or his attitude. He handled them with grace and dignity, and relied on his Christian faith to give him strength. He says:
"I would say to these people, 'Jesus loves everybody - you are simply ignorant.' I would also pray for them, and forgive them. I knew that they were the ones who had a problem, not me."
Sanmi also faced discrimination in other aspects of his life, such as education, housing, and social interactions. He noticed that he had fewer opportunities and resources than his white peers, and that he had to work harder and smarter to achieve his goals. He says:
"I realized that the system was not designed for people like me. I had to overcome many barriers and stereotypes, and prove myself over and over again. I had to be excellent, not just good."
Sanmi did not let these challenges discourage him or define him. He used them as motivation and inspiration, to pursue his dreams and make a difference. He says:
"I decided to turn my pain into power, and my adversity into advantage. I decided to use my story as a testimony, and my voice as a tool. I decided to be a leader, not a victim."
Discovering Real Estate: A Life-Changing Book
Sanmi worked his way up at McDonald's, reaching a management position. He also completed his secondary education, and went on to study business and law at the University of Greenwich. He graduated with honours, and had a promising future ahead of him. He was interested in pursuing a career in law or finance, but he also had a passion for entrepreneurship. He wanted to start his own business, and create wealth and impact for himself and others.
But he did not know what kind of business to start, or how to go about it. He had no contacts, no mentors, no capital, and no experience in the business world. He was looking for guidance and direction, when he received a gift that would change his life. A colleague at McDonald's, who knew that he was entrepreneurial, gave him a book that would have a lasting impact on him. The book was Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T Kiyosaki, a best-selling personal finance book that advocates investing in assets like real estate to get ahead in society. Sanmi read the book, and was blown away by its message. He says:
"The book opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about money and wealth. It taught me that I could be rich, not by working for money, but by making money work for me. It taught me that I could create passive income, by investing in assets that generate cash flow, such as properties. It taught me that I could be financially free, by building a portfolio of assets that cover my expenses, and allow me to live the life I want."
Sanmi was inspired by the book, and decided to follow its advice. He began investing in the UK property market, buying and selling flats off-plan from developers (before they were built). He used his savings, his credit cards, and his network of friends and family to raise the funds for his deals. He also learned everything he could about the property industry, by reading books, attending seminars, and joining online forums. He says:
"I was hungry for knowledge and action. I was willing to take risks and learn from my mistakes. I was determined to succeed and make a difference."
Sanmi soon became a successful property investor, making profits from his deals and building his portfolio. He also became a property consultant, helping others to invest in properties and achieve their financial goals. He says:
"I realized that property was not just a way to make money, but also a way to help people. I realized that I could use my skills and experience to educate and empower others, and create a positive impact in the world."
Founding Rehoboth: A Unique Niche
Sanmi continued to grow his property business, and by 2013, he had made enough money to found his own company, Rehoboth Property International. The name Rehoboth means "a place of enlargement and prosperity" in Hebrew, and reflects Sanmi's vision and mission for his company. He says:
"I wanted to create a company that would not only provide quality and affordable housing, but also create opportunities and value for the communities we serve. I wanted to create a company that would honour God and serve humanity."
Sanmi had a unique advantage in the property market: he had a strong network of contacts in the black-majority faith communities in south London. He had been a part of these communities since he moved to the UK, and had developed trust and rapport with them. He saw an opportunity to serve these communities, by providing them with a solution to a problem they faced: the lack of suitable and spacious places of worship.
Sanmi noticed that these congregations were looking for larger and better spaces to worship, as they were growing in size and diversity. He offered them a solution by renovating old entertainment spaces, such as cinemas, bingo halls, and nightclubs, and turning them into modern and comfortable places of worship. He also helped them secure funding and planning permission for these projects.
Sanmi found a unique niche in the property market, that no one else was serving. He created a win-win situation for both his clients and himself, by providing them with a valuable service, and generating income and equity from his properties. He says:
"I realized that there was a huge demand and a huge supply gap in the faith sector. I realized that I could use my network and my expertise to bridge that gap, and create a profitable and purposeful business."
Sanmi expanded his business beyond the faith sector, and developed residential and commercial properties across the UK. He focused on creating affordable and quality housing for low-income families, as well as providing employment and training opportunities for young people. He also invested in green and sustainable technologies, such as solar panels and electric car charging stations, to reduce his environmental impact. He says:
"I wanted to create a business that would not only make money, but also make a difference. I wanted to create a business that would not only build houses, but also build communities. I wanted to create a business that would not only be profitable, but also be responsible."
Sanmi won several awards for his entrepreneurial and social achievements, such as the Entrepreneur of the Year award at the UK Property Awards 2021, the Black British Business Award in 2019, and the London Business Award in 2018. He was also featured in various media outlets, such as the BBC, Forbes, and The Guardian, as a successful and inspiring business leader. He says:
"I was humbled and honoured by these recognitions. I was grateful for the opportunities and the support that I had received. I was proud of the impact and the legacy that I had created."
Sanmi is passionate about giving back to his community and his country of origin. He supports various charities and causes, such as education, health, and poverty alleviation, in both the UK and Nigeria. He also mentors and coaches young entrepreneurs, especially those from ethnic minority backgrounds, and encourages them to pursue their dreams and goals. He says:
"I believe that everyone has a purpose and a potential, and that everyone deserves a chance and a choice. I believe that by sharing my story and my knowledge, I can inspire and empower others to achieve their greatness."
Conclusion: A Vision for the Future
Sanmi Adegoke is a remarkable example of how perseverance, faith, and innovation can overcome adversity and lead to success. He is a visionary and a leader, who has transformed his life and the lives of many others through his property business. He is a role model and a mentor, who has inspired and empowered many young entrepreneurs to follow his footsteps. He is a philanthropist and a humanitarian, who has contributed to the development and the well-being of his community and his country.
Sanmi has achieved a lot in his life, but he is not done yet. He has a vision for the future, and he is working hard to make it a reality. He wants to expand his business globally, and create more places of worship, housing, and employment for people of all faiths and backgrounds. He wants to create a foundation, and support more causes and initiatives that align with his values and vision. He wants to write a book, and share his story and his wisdom with the world. He says:
"I have a dream of creating a better world, where everyone can live in peace, harmony, and prosperity. I have a dream of creating a legacy, that will last beyond my lifetime. I have a dream of creating a masterpiece, that will reflect the glory of God."
Sanmi Adegoke is a man of dreams, and a man of action. He is a man of challenges, and a man of solutions. He is a man of passion, and a man of purpose. He is a man of faith, and a man of grace. He is a man of success, and a man of significance. He is Sanmi Adegoke, the property developer with a difference.
(1) Nigeria's Sanmi Adegoke named Entrepreneur of the Year at the UK .... https://guardian.ng/appointments/nigerias-sanmi-adegoke-named-entrepreneur-of-the-year-at-the-uk-property-awards-2021/.
(2) Adegoke becomes first black recipient of ... - Businessday NG. https://businessday.ng/news/article/adegoke-becomes-first-black-recipient-of-entrepreneur-of-the-year-at-uk-property-awards-2021/.
(3) Nigeria’s Sanmi Adegoke sets record, wins big at the 2021 UK Property .... https://www.businessamlive.com/nigerias-sanmi-adegoke-sets-record-wins-big-at-the-2021-uk-property-awards/.
(4) 'My journey from racist abuse at the tills to property tycoon' - BBC. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-68203736.
(5) The Team — Rehoboth. https://rpinternational.co.uk/team.
(6) Team — Rehoboth & Stephen. https://www.rehobothandstephen.com/meet-the-team.
(7) Dartford Hill Hub entrepreneur Sanmi Adegoke named one of the first .... https://www.kentonline.co.uk/dartford/news/kents-silicon-valley-brainchild-named-property-entreprene-258826/.
(8) Sanmi Adegoke Becomes First Black Recipient of ... - THISDAYLIVE. https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2021/11/26/sanmi-adegoke-becomes-first-black-recipient-of-entrepreneur-of-the-year-at-uk-property-award.