Jan Bonde Nielsen was born in Denmark in 1938. As a career investor and businessman, he has developed a very long and very successful portfolio of past investments. But as a passionate supporter of foreign aid throughout Africa, he has gathered and spent millions in support of small businesses throughout Central Africa. His passions of work and charity have taken him all across the world, and this passion has brought him immense success.
Jan Bonde Nielsen came from humble beginnings, as his first full-scale international project was DCK International, which operated out of Europe and Kenya. DCK was a flower growing company which operated using the most modern agricultural techniques available. Working alongside the Kenyan government, this group had more than five million square meters of land under cultivation and employed more than 7000 people. This was the birth of an entire industry in Africa, and Jan took pride in his involvement with the group. This venture laid the groundwork for Jan’s interest in supplying further aid to the continent.
While he worked with DCK, JBN was also involved with a number of other companies in non-executive directorial roles.
In 1974 Jan Bonde Nielsen, alongside a group of family and financial investors, purchased 51% of Burmeister & Wain shares. This company is one of the oldest industrial companies in Denmark. This is where Jan found a career that would last him a lifetime – purchasing, restructuring, and reorganizing struggling companies. His streamlining of the company took Burmeister & Wain from nearly negative equity to more than DKK 700 million by the end of ‘78, just four years later.
It was at this time that a major legal battle broke out against him. The battle lasted eight years, but ultimately he was acquitted. His side of the story can be read in his books “Dømt” and “Frikendt.”
He moved to the UK to pursue an interest in the UK property market. He had great success, raising money to purchase 29% of shares with Phoenix Properties and Finance plc, then selling for 5 times the money spent. Throughout the ‘80s and early ‘90s he found a talent for this process of buying and selling, restructuring, and reorganizing. In ‘92 he turned his sights to Russia and found several industrial companies that he took an interest in.
The first of these endeavors was the Vyborg Pulp and Paper Company. He found the development of the company to be a difficult, but worthwhile, process. He worked his way across much of Russia, founding the Greenoak Group along the way. This group provides capital and management resources to oil, shipping, and industrial investment firms in the Georgia and Caucasian Region.
Jan’s most recent project is with Circle Gas. Circle Gas was established to bring clean cooking resources to low-income households, using a pay-as-you-go technology.
Outside of this robust portfolio and career, Jan has been a passionate supporter of foreign aid ever since his days in Kenya. Since ‘85 he has been involved as chairman and member of the board with Farm-Africa, a charity focused on supporting small farmers. This charity has helped more than 1.9 million farmers.
Jan has also been involved with the Virunga Foundation since 2005. This foundation supports the Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its unusual landscape.
Jan Bonde Nielsen has had a world-class career as an industrial investor for nearly a half-century. His career spans nations and decades, and his charity has touched the lives of millions.