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Olamilekan Banks Akindunni, an astute entrepreneur, started his first business at the turn of the decade. He had been consolidating his investment portfolio when the Great Financial Crash of 2007 happened and was in the UK at the time. The only investment that remained unaffected and stable were commodities.

He decided to go to his homeland, Nigeria, to explore further, particularly looking into commodities that were highly sought after by the Western world. That led him to the exportation of cashew nut, charcoal, and sesame seeds.

Along the line, Banks discovered that there was a huge untapped potential in gemstone mining in Nigeria. He started off exporting Topaz in its raw form from artisanal miners to marketplaces in Sri Lanka, the USA, Thailand, and the Middle East.


However, due to the challenges he encountered in Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Communities such as the absence of funding, ethical practices, policies, regulation, and structure, he lost a lot of his investment and resources.  

About the same time, he received a partial scholarship to study at Hult Business School, Boston, where he obtained an MBA in 2015. During his MBA, he was inspired by speeches from top Nigerian businessmen- Hakeem Bello-Osagie and Aliko Dangote - which prompted his decision to re-establish the business from the United States.

In 2018, he attended a jewelry and gemstone event in New York. The presence of very few Africans at the event inspired him further and gave him the hope that African countries could become reputable key players in the global gemstone industry.

The mission to showcase ethically sourced gemstones from Africa continues as Banolt now has offices in Lagos, Nigeria, and Texas, the USA with a trading presence in Colombo, Sri Lanka. We are a sought-after wholesale supplier of gemstones to an actively growing US market and are continuously working to strengthen our supply chain.

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