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SOE-NEXIA TS ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD 2015

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CITATION FOR MR. IMSAIL GAFOOR BY MR. ANDREW KWAN
THE SPIRIT OF ENTERPRISE AWARDS 2015
MONDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2015
MANDARIN ORCHARD HOTEL, GRAND BALLROOM
 
Ismail Gafoor, Founder and CEO of Singapore's largest homegrown real estate agency, PropNex Realty, was introduced to hard work and the importance of responsibility from the tender age of 7. Ismail did morning newspaper delivery runs with his father before every break of day from 4am. The household needed all the support it could get and so Ismail was roped in once he was barely able – expected to help out every day at his father's grocer till dusk, resting only once a year when the newspapers did not print on 26 December, Boxing Day. On his own, Ismail scrounged and saved, sacrificing luxuries and lifestyles comforts.

Upon graduation, Ismail signed on as a regular army officer and overtime, rose up the ranks to become a captain. His term with the SAF exposed him to new opportunities, information and honed his leadership and organisation skills. With an interest in property and savings he had diligently put together, he bought an apartment at Normanton Park, an expensive purchase for a greenhorn in the army. It occurred to Ismail that purchasing a property was not a show of extravagance, but an act of prudence. Hence, he decided it was time to strike out on his own. He didn’t want to be a regular army officer all his life. So, he resigned from the service, determined to pursue his passion – to be an entrepreneur.

Under Ismail’s leadership, PropNex continuously broke new ground. It pioneered initiatives which would today be considered standard across Singapore’s real estate agency, including a dual-career path, an incentivised commission scheme that encourages top performing agents to take leadership roles. Such forward thinking initiatives brought about furious growth - to date, the flagship real estate agency has grown to have over 5,900 salespersons and the company has expanded to include other subsidiaries namely PropNex International, PropNex Property Management Consultancy, Singbuilders, Singcapital, Life Mastery Academy and P&N Investment – providing a one-stop shop of real estate services.

In the competitive real estate industry, the PropNex brand has stood its ground and withheld countless trials over the years – from the Asian Financial Crisis, to the SARs pandemic and the collapse of Lehman Brothers – which all brought with them enormous challenges that the company had to overcome.
PropNex is today, truly Singapore’s largest homegrown real estate agency – from its initial humble beginnings, to become a pillar of professionalism; providing ‘Service You Trust’.

When asked about his entrepreneurial journey, Ismail never complained about being weary or worn-out. In his own words, “When you’re passionate about what you do, it never feels like work.”

It is my honour now, to present this year’s Spirit of Enterprise-Nexia TS Entrepreneur of the Year 2015, to Mr Ismail Gafoor.