Kola Masha is the founder of Babban Gona, the first for-profit social enterprise in history to be awarded the prestigious Skoll Award, due to its financial sustainability and highly scalable impact. The organization is part-owned by the farmers they serve.

Why you should listen

At Babban Gona, Kola Masha oversees Nigeria's largest corn producing enterprise through a program that franchises thousands of mini corn farmer cooperatives across northern Nigeria, increasing the profitability of the smallholder farmers by three 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 99.9 percent. The project was created to attract youth to agriculture and away from the looming instability of extremist groups.

Prior to moving back home to Nigeria, Masha held multiple leadership roles in leading global organizations, including General Electric and Abiomed. Upon moving home to Nigeria, he gained extensive public and private sector experience as a Senior Advisor to the Nigerian Federal Minister of Agriculture and as CEO of a subsidiary of the Notore Group, one of the country's leading agricultural conglomerates.