From a multi-million dollar vodka business, to real estate, to series of hospitality enterprises, to mining, amongst others, Ladi Delano is the serial entrepreneur who has embodied the vision of Nigerian youthful entrepreneurs.
At 30 most Nigerians are still flocking the streets hopelessly searching for a job to get by, however meager.
On the reverse, the success of Ladi Delano is a motivational material to keep aspiring entrepreneurs to keep going.
“I just love Nigeria… I want to provide jobs and help the youth develop themselves. It’s an honor to be able to contribute to the economy in this way.”
At 24, Ladi Delano started up Solid XS, a Chinese Premium vodka. He grossed in about $20 million in annual revenue. In due time he sold the enterprise for over $15 million.
Next the hopelessly optimistic go-getter launched his business presence in Chinese real estate investments with his Delano Reid Group.
He subsequently flipped his vodka company for millions of dollars. Today, he is a co-founder and CEO of Bakrie Delano Africa, a $1 billion investment vehicle committed to making acquisitions in Nigeria’s mining, energy and agriculture sectors.
Ladi Delano was born and raised in the UK but still respects the Nigerian cultural values, thanks to parental grounding.
The serial entrepreneur suffered mild dyslexia and deafness in one of his ears. This affected his learning, making school a difficult task to pull through with.
Persistently, he made it to the University level. Eventually he abandoned school during his second year as a political scientist.
“It became quite clear that I didn’t have a passion for my course. I think that lead to me being easily distracted and that, ultimately, culminated in me thinking that rather than flogging a dead horse, it would make more sense to do something I was more comfortable with.
There are two types of education and each form of education is equally as valuable. The academic approach to education is vital, no business can operate and be successful without those who have spent the time to understand the academic side of anything.
However, that approach to education is not necessarily for everybody. And in my case it wasn’t. So, I decided to withdraw from university.”
In 3 years, he had 200 staff working in 6 provincial offices in Hongkong. His Vodka, which reportedly controlled 70% of the Chinese Market, was sold in 33 cities.
It is quite arguable that his environment was more business friendly than most sub-Saharan countries. However while the Africa of today inspires millions to take the entrepreneurial road, Ladi naturally blended into the industry as a matter of an early self discovery, a phenomenal business strategies.
A Nigeria ex-governor and politician had bluntly insinuated that the world’s richest people would not have made it that far if they were in the Nigerian environment. Thanks to oil, every other policy that could favor other forms of businesses were stifled and abandoned for a long time.
Delani’s Indonesian Conglomerate has provided over $900 million worth of funding for investment in Nigeria.
In 2012, he was Nigeria’s youngest billionaire and was named as one of Forbes’ youngest millionaires to watch in Africa.