Managing Director, Babban Gona
Kola is the Managing Director of Babban Gona. Babban Gona is an award winning, high impact, financially sustainable and highly scalable social enterprise, part-owned by the farmers we serve. Babban Gona, was created to specifically attract youth to agriculture and away from the looming instability of extremist groups.
We accomplish this by franchising thousands of mini maize and rice farmer cooperatives across Northern Nigeria, dramatically increasing the profitability of the smallholder members 2.8 to 3.5 times above the national average. This dramatic increase in net income is accomplished by delivering an integrated holistic package of training, farm inputs and marketing services, on credit. Babban Gona has been able to deliver this credit while maintaining one of the highest repayment rates in the world, currently above 99.99%, leveraging our comprehensive 8levels of risk mitigation.
We developed the model with our partners that include His Highness Muhammad Sanusi II, the Sarkin (Emir) Kano, Nestle, IITA, DfID, USAID, GIZ, AGRA, BMGF, Skoll, Kiva, FMCB, Mulago, GIF and Rockefeller Foundation amongst others.
Prior to Babban Gona, Kola was a Managing Director and CEO of a major subsidiary in the Notore Group, one of Nigeria’s leading agricultural conglomerates, where he raised US$24 Million to develop an integrated agricultural trading, production and processing business. Furthermore, he led the development and execution of Notore’s commercial strategy across West and Central Africa, preparing the company to sell onemillion tons of fertilizer and establish a modern seed business. He led the effort to raise $130 million in equity and the restructuring of $360 Million in debt.
Kola brings significant leadership experience in venture capital, corporate finance, business development, marketing and operations, across four continents with multiple global companies, including GE, Notore and Abiomed. In addition, Kola brings extensive public sector experience as Senior Advisor to the Nigerian Minister of Agriculture. In recognition for his leadership in driving positive change on the African Continent he has received several global awards including the prestigious Eisenhower Fellowship, a leading leadership institute led by General Collin Powell and appointed to the Board of the African Enterprise Challenge Fund, a $250 Million fund that awards grants and repayable grants to private sector companies to support innovative business ideas in agriculture, agribusiness, renewable energy, adaptation to climate change and access to information and financial services. Kola holds an MBA (Honors) from Harvard and a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.