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2016’s top SA entrepreneur revealed

South Africa’s premier annual entrepreneurial platform, Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, has named second-time finalist and owner of Agricon, Johan Eksteen, as this year’s overall competition winner at the awards ceremony held in Johannesburg this morning.

Internationally acclaimed Agricon is a manufacturer of cost-effective, eco-friendly pelleting solutions for the agricultural and industrial industries. The company was established in 1993 by brothers Andre and Johan, with Johan becoming the sole owner in 2006 and subsequently growing the business to a global specialist.

With over 15 years of experience in the agriculture industry, Eksteen gained a wealth of knowledge and expertise in pelletizing by working in countries such as South Africa, Uganda, Australia, Singapore and New Caledonia.

Pelletizing, involving the processing of materials into small dry pellets, is a common practice in industrial procedures. This process is used globally by manufacturers of animal feed or recycling facilities that specialise in processing materials for reuse, Agricon offering extends to rooibos tea and tobacco dust, fertilizers, animal manure and even chemicals.

Since being named a finalist in the 2014 competition, Agricon has not only expanded and experienced rapid growth in turnover, but has also benefited from the improvement of various business processes – something that stood out to the judging panel. “Johan has managed to take a small business to heights that go beyond what could have been expected by continually improving Agricon’s service offering. This is greater than just generating tangible results from a good business model – this is entrepreneurial passion.”

In addition to the manufacturing of pelletizing machines and equipment, the company provides training and on-site installation for clients, as well as on-going support following a sale, such as the provision of spare parts. Agricon also provides advice on new venture creation and business opportunities for clients within the pelleting sector, and supports the customer from business plan through the financing process and later trade-in assistance and expansion possibilities.

On winning this accolade, Eksteen believes that it will set the business apart from the rest and give it even more traction. “I feel that it is extremely important to benchmark your entrepreneurial skills against the best in business, because without testing your achievements against the realities in the market, you may easily have an inflated perception of your abilities and successes. Apart from the personal achievement and pride, winning an award of this calibre is a great feather in Agricon’s cap,” he concludes.

For more information on Agricon (Pty) Ltd, please visit

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