Kola Masha

managing director at doreo partners, mba (honors) harvard,  ms egr. (distinction) mit

Kola is the Managing Partner of Doreo Partners, an impact investing firm that leverages agriculture venture capital to drive youth employment, a critical need in Africa, the world’s youngest continent. Doreo’s goal is to create 10 million jobs by 2030 via its investments. A prime example is Nigeria, a country with half the population under the age of 19 years old and a current youth unemployment rate over 60%. With these dynamics, Nigeria will have 80 million new youths entering an oversaturated workforce in the next 20 years alone, 4 times the number of youth that entered the workforce in the last 20 years.

Doreo’s flagship investment is an innovative Agricultural Franchise model, called Babban Gona. Babban Gona is a high impact, financially sustainable and highly scalable social enterprise, which is part owned by the farmers we serve. We franchise hundreds of mini farmer cooperatives, across Northern Nigeria. We developed the agricultural franchise model with our partners, that include Nestle, his Highness Muhammad Sanusi II (the Emir of Kano), DfID, AGRA, BMGF, Skoll and Rockefeller foundation amongst others.

Members of these franchise mini cooperatives produce staple crops such as corn, rice and soybeans, and have increased their net incomes to 4.5 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 is able to generate positive operating margins from a highly efficient service delivery model, enabling the business to sustainably scale. Finally, due to our comprehensive 8 levels of risk mitigation, we have achieved a 99.9% repayment rate, for 3 years in a row, enabling the organization to raise and deliver exceptionally cost effective credit.

Kola brings significant leadership experience in venture capital, corporate finance, business development, marketing and operations, across four continents, North America, Europe, Asia and Africa with multiple global companies including General Electric (GE), Abiomed and Notore. In addition, Kola brings extensive public sector experience as the former Senior Advisor to the Nigerian Minister of Agriculture. Kola is globally recognized as a thought leader in African Agribusiness, with numerous speaking engagements at leading global conferences and is a regular Agribusiness contributor to CNBC. 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 Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT.