Here’s How CEO Buwa Binitie Adds Value To Billion-Dollar Real Estate Company
Buwa Binitie lives his life through hip-hop lines. But he runs his billion-dollar real estate and social impact conglomerate, spreading knowledge brick-by-brick.
Cue Jay-Z. “I can’t help the poor if I’m one of them/ So I got rich and gave back/ To me that’s the win-win.”
Operating with a mission to create more successful Black communities, the founder and CEO of Dumas Collective told BLACK ENTERPRISE that he has plenty of receipts. So, it was our pleasure leaning into his nearly two-decade career about adding value beyond the numbers in the finance and real estate industry.
A Nigerian immigrant, Binitie was told that the bustling streets of the Big Apple were paved with gold. So he cut his teeth on the pavements and learned the American way. He successfully navigated the education system with a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University and a Master of Science in real estate development at John Hopkins University.
And yet, there was a necessity that caught his attention: adequate housing.
“Having lived in multiple cities, throughout America, I realized that I had to do one or two things,” Binitie told BE. “I had to either pay way more than I could afford to live within close proximity to my job. Or I had to be content with having to commute over an hour each way to get to the job.”
Do the math.
For the past 18 years, Binitie has been building a business around real estate dedicated to finding a solution for people of modest means to reclaim their time while not having to rake out more than 30% of their income.
“I dare say we’ve been figuring it out a way to do it successfully now,” Binitie said confidently.
Dumas Collective is the holdings company of Dantes Partners, Faria Management, Dantes Community Partners, and No.07 Consultants. Under his leadership, Binitie oversees acquisition, development, property management, and financial activities of the conglomerate—from Washington, DC, to New York. Together, they have been entrusted with over $2.2B in financing, resulting and transactions in upward of 7,600 workforce and affordable units.
Additionally, Pinellas County and NYCHA signed up to participate in the company’s expansion efforts, including a historical transformation of the 99-year-old St. Petersburg’s Tomlinson building into attainable workforce housing for teachers and staffers.
And yet, Binitie is well aware of the disproportionate number of Black and brown construction firms. From The Minority Resource and African‐American Real Estate Professionals to the DC Building Industry Association, Binitie enters spaces where he belongs. He speaks regularly at industry-focused events.
Moreover, he takes pride in his company’s multiply effect: a process of tracking how much dollars are with those firms.
“I find a lot more comfort and happiness knowing that there are a number of individuals who have been able to be just as successful as I am, along the way,” Binitie said in defining success.
- You can’t be wealthy if you have a lot of debt.
- There’s no success without consistency.
As a teaching mentor and a long-time member at the Real Estate Executive Council, Binitie breaks down his teachings in manageable chunks. He does it this way so budding developers of color alike can get out of the comfort zone and onto a path of attaining generational wealth.
So don’t stop at the fear of the unknown. Take a look at the digestible tips on making a business, specifically in real estate.
“When you don’t grow, everything stops with you,” Binitie told BE.
Binitie’s tips on building a large portfolio
Stage I: Double down on yourself
- Don’t underestimate proof of concept: What value are you really adding?
- Reinvest in yourself: Are you willing to go to the extra mile to invest in yourself to grow an enterprise? If you allow fear to deter your expansion, competitors will have an opportunity to steal your ideas.
- Save your gains: If you save $10M, you can bond a $100M project. Bonding is a major impediment, but using your profit and savings can help you obtain larger projects such as stadiums.
- Find spaces where you feel a sense of belonging: Exchange ideas in spaces where you can thrive in.
- Ask for help: Don’t be threatened by what a successful organization looks like. There is value in learning how to run an enterprise by those who are winning.
“The sooner we embrace success, the better we will be as a culture. We’re no longer one by one. We’re one of many,” Binitie said.
Stage II: Building a business
- Stabilize the company
- Scale the company
- Define your why
- Follow your passion
“Even if you don’t see that light at the end of the tunnel, it is your passion that fuels you to keep moving until you see that light,” Binitie said.