Oladipo Onaeko - alumnus profile

An all-rounder with boundless energy

oladipo onaeko

It is rare you come across people as enthusiastic and versatile as Dipo who, at just 27, is already the Managing Director of Difemis Ventures, one of Nigeria’s leading fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies. Dipo has grown with the company, having started work there at just 18. This got him the all-important foot in the door and enabled him to generate extra income while studying in Lagos. However, his close ties to the business haven’t stopped him from venturing out of Nigeria to enrich his already impressive skill set.

The electrical engineer turned business man

Dipo was studying for a degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Lagos when he first started working for Difemis. After graduating, he continued working for the company where, despite his lack of formal business qualifications, he came up with a new pricing structure and sales strategy that gave the company an edge over its competitors. This raw business talent and willingness to take risks resulted in a 100% increase on the previous year’s turnover and got Dipo noticed by the right people.

UWE Bristol ticked all the right boxes

After a few years working for Difemis, Dipo decided to give his business skills some academic refinement and consulted the international education consultancy service PFL Nigeria for advice about which institutions would best meet his needs. In 2012, Dipo followed their advice and headed to Bristol to study for a Master’s degree in International Business Management.

Dipo reflects on the vital role his time at UWE Bristol played in enhancing his ‘soft skills’. He credits his time here with boosting his leadership and teamwork skills, honing the demands of time management and learning the true value of business networking. He also jokes that the library was one of his favourite places because it always had whatever book he needed!

Passionate about volunteering and networking

Despite his love for the library, Dipo also made the most of UWE Bristol’s extra-curricular activities. He joined the Nigerian students’ network, eventually becoming president of the society, and organised a book launch that attracted various Nigerian celebrities and the Nigerian High Commissioner.

Dipo also found time to get involved in the UWE Enactus business society, where he worked on a variety of entrepreneurial and social projects. Dipo says: “My interaction with fellow students and business leaders in this society greatly improved my networking, team management, presentation and organisational skill which I couldn’t have learnt from lectures alone.”

Dipo took to the airwaves during his time here and also volunteered for Ujima Radio Bristol, a non-profit social enterprise providing support and training for the local community. This gave him lots of team leadership opportunities and enabled him to see a clip of his own show aired on BBC radio Bristol.

Putting new skills into practice

Dipo returned to Nigeria after completing his studies and took up a role as operations manager for Perfume NG. This gave him valuable insight into marketing strategy and inventory management systems. Many of his entrepreneurial ideas were implemented, which helped the company to radically increase its sales.

However, Dipo remained loyal to Difemis Ventures, and in March 2014 he decided to leave Perfume NG to take up the position of Managing Director at Difemis. Dipo says: "I know if I stay consistent in the next 10 years, my company will be listed as one of the top five FMCG distribution companies in Nigeria.”

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