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When entrepreneurship meets industrial innovation
2014-12-13

Johan Eksteen (Photo: Supplied)

Internationally acclaimed Argicon Pelleting is a worldwide supplier of pelleting machinery and equipment as well as agri-processing factories. The company was established in 1993 by André and Johan Eksteen, UFS 2004 MBA graduate. After taking over sole ownership, the company grew from a one-man business to an internationally respected specialist in the design and manufacturing of pelleting solutions for the agricultural industry.

A common practice in industrial procedures, pelleting involves processing material into small dry pellets. This is used globally by manufacturers of animal feed or recycling facilities that specialise in processing materials for reuse. This process, however, can only be successfully accomplished with specialised equipment, namely a pelletizer. With fifteen years’ experience in agriculture, and international exposure in countries such as Uganda, Australia, Singapore and New Caledonia, this was not a tall order for Johan.

Agricon focuses on consistently developing innovative ways to add value to its offering. The business has successfully installed pelleting equipment for a range of products, including tobacco dust, rooibos tea, human sludge waste, organic fertilizers and vermi-compost. In addition to the manufacturing of machines and equipment, the company also provides training and on-site installation for clients, as well as support following a sale or the provision of spare parts. The company also provides advice on new product developments and business opportunities for clients within the sector.

Apart from doubling its sales between 2013 and 2014, the company gained great recognition within the industry. Johan was awarded the University of the Free State Business School’s Entrepreneur award in 2013 and he is the first-prize winner of the ILO Free State EnterPRIZE Job Creation Challenge for 2014. He is currently one of 15 finalists countrywide in the Entrepreneur of the Year competition sponsored by Business Partners and Sanlam. Johan is the mentor and stand-in manager for Almenta, a skills development company (winner of the ILO Best Social Entrepreneur for Skills Development award) and Equus Groom School (winner of the ILO Social Entrepreneur in Youth Development award).

Johan was also announced as the winner of the SA entrepreneur of the year for small businesses.

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