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Managing properties makes me venture into other sectors — Ahmad

Ahmad Rufai Khalid, 27, is the CEO of Arill Group, a company that operates in various sectors of real estate, transportation, agriculture, oil and gas,…

Ahmad Rufai Khalid, 27, is the CEO of Arill Group, a company that operates in various sectors of real estate, transportation, agriculture, oil and gas, manufacturing, and finishing services. In this interview, he shared how his experience in property management paved the way for his success across diverse fields.


What is the story behind the Aril Group?

 It all started in 2012 when I embarked on a journey managing properties in Nigeria on behalf of clients. In 2013, an ambitious idea took root to establish a robust transportation company specialising in domestic services like haulage and interstate transport.

This venture started with one vehicle but swiftly grew to 16 within 18 months. This fostered the desire to further expand into other industries, thus leading to the incorporation of Aril Group.

What makes the company different?

The group stands out among its competitors due to its comprehensive approach across diverse sectors. With expertise spanning real estate, transportation, agriculture, oil and gas, manufacturing, and finishing services. We offer a unique advantage of integrated solutions with the pride of being a “one-stop shop” for clients. This allows us to streamline operations, optimise resources and deliver unparalleled value to our clients.

Our commitment to growth, sustainability, and client satisfaction ensures that we consistently exceed expectations, setting us apart as the premier choice in the industry.

How do you stay updated on the latest trends and technologies in your various fields?

We prioritise staying ahead of the curve by fostering a culture of continuous learning and exploration. We invest in comprehensive training programmes for our teams, encourage participation in industry conferences and actively engage with thought leaders through seminars, webinars, and online communities.

Additionally, we allocate resources for research and development, ensuring that our teams have access to the latest tools and technologies to innovate and remain competitive in their respective fields. This multi-faceted approach allows us to adapt swiftly to emerging trends and technologies, keeping us at the forefront of innovation and excellence.

What challenges do you face and how have you overcome them?

 Expanding a business while navigating the ever-evolving landscape of technology presents a myriad of challenges. From scalability issues to adapting to new technology, each hurdle requires strategic planning and agile execution. We leveraged market research, training across the globe and engagement of well-rounded staff. This has helped optimise our operational infrastructure to accommodate expansion.

In what ways do you contribute to the community, particularly youth engagement or employment?

Being a key pillar in our business, we run the Aril Community Development Foundation (ACDF). This non-profit is dedicated to making a lasting and positive impact on those in need in our host communities and beyond.

At ACDF, we firmly believe that everyone deserves access to education, healthcare and support, regardless of their background or circumstances. With this guiding principle, we have successfully provided over 100 interest-free loans to farmers and local businesses.

We have also provided free education to over 300 students from diverse backgrounds. In terms of health care, we have successfully provided life-changing free healthcare services to patients afflicted by a wide spectrum of ailments, including diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, glaucoma, etc.

In addition, ACDF has undertaken numerous renovation and construction projects, breathing new life into the mud and dilapidated structures. By providing safe and resilient housing and medical centres, we have enabled communities to rebuild and thrive, ensuring that vulnerable individuals and families have a chance to have a brighter future.

What are your future plans?

As the Nigerian market continues to evolve and customers become increasingly exposed to better services and preferences, our company is committed to adapting and innovating to meet their needs. We see ourselves leveraging emerging technologies and customer insights to enhance our offerings, ensuring they align with evolving expectations. This may involve refining our products, optimising our customer service, and exploring new channels of engagement to maintain relevance and exceed customer satisfaction.

For example, we send staff overseas to perfect tiling and other finishing works, as well as learn about the best agricultural, transportation and other practices. This allows us to stay agile and responsive to market shifts, as we aim to not only meet but exceed the growing expectations of Nigerian consumers.

What advice will you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start their businesses?

My advice is to embrace failure as a crucial part of the journey towards success. Learn from your mistakes, pivot when necessary and stay adaptable in the face of challenges. Surround yourself with a supportive network of mentors, peers and advisors who can provide guidance and perspective.

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