Kola Adesina, a consummate entrepreneur, is currently the Group Managing Director of Sahara Power Group, a leading power conglomerate in Sub-Saharan Africa. His academic background includes a Bachelor’s degree in insurance and a Master’s degree in business administration. His quest for knowledge drove him to acquire yet another Master’s degree in international law and diplomacy.
Also serving as a Director at Sahara Group, a leading international energy and infrastructure conglomerate with operations in over 20 countries across five continental regions, Kola leads sundry business acquisition and expansion transactions for the Group. His vast understanding of the energy sector in Africa is a huge asset that continues to give Sahara Group an edge in its quest to lead the growing profile of African energy conglomerates in global markets, light up Africa and transform lives and businesses across the continent.
Kola served on the presidential committee for the Accelerated Expansion of the Electricity Infrastructure in Nigeria, a vehicle that birthed the privatization of the sector and its continuing press towards achieving reliable power supply to drive economic growth. Outside of his day-to-day duties, he is a much sought-after resource person at international conferences. Furthermore, multiple governments across Africa seek his expertise when it comes to the energy sector. In his free time, Kola Adesina often works with young entrepreneurs, mentoring and inspiring those in his community to pursue their dreams.
This is a venture that is dear to his heart as it gives him an opportunity to give back and empower youths for success in leadership and business ventures. In the future, he will continue to look for diverse ways of ensuring sustainable development and prosperity for underserved communities through the promotion of positive social impact interventions. Lastly, as Board Chairman, Mr. Adesina continues to lead ongoing transformation at the 1320-megawatt Egbin Power Plant which is the largest privately owned power plant in Sub-Saharan Africa.
How did you get started in the energy sector?
I originally started out as an insurance professional and excelled. But I am an individual who is committed to taking on challenges and making a huge impact by transforming the mundane into the extraordinary. When I joined Sahara Group, the enduring vision of the business resonated with my desire to be part of a Group committed to creating value globally. The beautiful thing is that my insurance background came in handy and my insatiable quest for knowledge also positioned me for excellence and success at Sahara Group.
How do you make money?
We deliver world-class energy solutions designed to improve the quality of life all over the world, especially in Africa.
How did the business become profitable?
Among other variables, Profitability is usually a function of strategy, empowered and innovative people, excellent relationship management, and efficient capital optimization meeting opportunity. When all of these are in force, then you are on the right course towards profitability.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
What people need to know is that the fear of failure can be the force that will drive one to unprecedented success. So doubts become my wings to soar above challenges and see beyond temporary setbacks. I handle doubts by staying committed to my passion. Disruptions sometime lead to discoveries. So, even when doubts arise, I rise to the challenge.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works well to generate new business?
Relationship management is very important to us. Every person around you is a potential customer or can lead you to one. So it’s an enduring strategy that remains true for global brands like Sahara Group.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Never say never. Never fail to learn lessons from missed opportunities. Never stop dreaming and being passionate about your work. Never stop reading and investing in becoming better than you were yesterday.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Seeing how Sahara Group continues to give wings to the aspirations of people, especially in Africa and being a shining light for other businesses to emulate. 4
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
Everyday something better than the previous day. Global impact that will endure for many generations to come.
What business books have inspired you?
Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras
Dream Land by Sam Quinones
Too Big to Ignore by Phil Simon
What is the most important advice you give to your mentees?
Every individual on the face of the earth has a unique gift that the world needs. Find it. Refine it. Enhance it. Share it. Then don’t forget to make it bring value to those who encounter it. Always ask yourself, how can I make this gift sustainable. Your success is in you. It always starts with self-discovery.