My Business Story

I Turned Down Offer From Oil Firm - Entertainment Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur who turned down offer to work in an oil firm shares amazing story

Onoja Adole is an entertainment entrepreneur. He has hosted some of the most creative events in major cities in Nigeria, especially in Lagos and Abuja, and has collaborated with top brands such as Transcorp Hilton, Coca-Cola, Diamond Bank, 9 Mobile and Arik Air to bring outdoor entertainment experience to leisure seekers.

Asked how he got into entertainment, Onoja said: “I just had a passion for organizing parties from university. Although I looked forward to a 9-5 job after graduation, it was mostly for the experience. My eyes had always been set on the entertainment industry.”

In 2010, after some rounds of experimentation, Onoja, a 2006 graduate of English and Literary Studies from the University of Abuja, registered Delphino Entertainment.

He recalled how he got his first client. “I was already doing a series of events at the club with different themes. So a major drinks brand was looking for an event to partner with, to promote their products in the club. Since I was the only one hosting successful events in the club at the time, it was an easy decision for them. We ended up having a four-year contract that is still running.”

Business brief:
Started: 2010
Instagram: @delphinoent

It sounds easy, but considering that the social circuit in Abuja is hardly as active as that of Lagos, it takes a lot of hard work and guts for an entertainment entrepreneur to pull off some stunning events in the Federal Capital Territory.

The managing director of Delphino Entertainment attributed his success to consistency, innovation and peculiarity in the content of every event.
Even with its owner’s enthusiasm, Delphino Entertainment didn’t become asuccess overnight. There were initial challenges, which Onoja had to surmount.

Although his sister once gave him N150, 000 which he added to his savings at the onset, he still had a lot to work out to get the business going.

He recalled the early days of his business. “When I started, my family obviously wasn't in support, mainly because I had an offer from an oil firm already. My friends knew I had a huge passion for what I did and had no choice but support me, although they were wondering how I was going to make a business out of my passion in a city not popular for entertainment at that time.

For the first two years I wasn't making money, but I loved what I was doing, so it didn't feel like work.”

But Onoja built a strong team, drew up a plan, was consistent about what he wanted to do and courted media partnerships. These days, he is known for hosting the “Acoustic Night”, a unique entertainment event in Abuja popular for the secret twists it offers.

Delphino Entertainment has won several awards, including that of the Entertainment Company of Reckoning (2012), and Onoja was a two-time nominee of the Abuja Young Entrepreneurship Award in 2013 and 2014.

However, there is one recognition Onoja holds close to his heart. “I was excited to be nominated in the same category as Don Jazzy and Cobhams for the Entertainment Personality of the Year, Future Awards 2014,” he said. “I knew I wasn't going to win. All that mattered was being recognized. So I flew to Lagos and made the best of it by establishing more contacts in my industry.”

“My friends knew I had a huge passion for what I did and had no choice but support me, although they were wondering how I was going to make a business out of my passion in a city not popular for entertainment at that time”

In October 2017, Onoja attended the Forbes “30 Under 30” Summit in Boston, United States. He believes that the exposure presented by such forums is crucial to his aspiration to be among the top three entertainment entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

Another important success factor, according to him, is his team. “I have eight direct staff members but on the day of an event the number can rise  to 28. Their commitment and loyalty are very important; that’s why I only recruit passionate people. And our work is fun, never feels like work!”

Onoja is changing the entertainment landscape of Abuja one exquisite outdoor event at a time, especially with his Delphino Picnic series.  The self-motivated still has more left in his tank.

Only recently, he opened a lounge on Gana Street, Abuja, called QUO, with Wizkid and Davido among other celebrities present at the event.

“My passion and drive,” he said, “just never allow me take no for an answer. No one does what we do in the business. We don't imitate; we create our own models and events.”

He aspires to be one of the top three entertainment entrepreneurs in Nigeria and is giving his all to live his dream.