Free State entrepreneur awarded Small Entrepreneur of the Year® award

Johan Eksteen, owner of Agricon Pty Ltd – a worldwide supplier of pelletizing machinery and equipment as well as agri–processing factories – was awarded the Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year® title at the annual 2014 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® Competition, held in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 3 September 2014.

With over 15 years of experience in the agriculture industry, Eksteen has 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.

Eksteen identifies that this process can only be successfully accomplished with specialised equipment, namely a pelletizer. “Agricon has successfully been able to supply businesses with a variety of pelleting products such as; tobacco dust, rooibos tea, human sludge waste, organic fertilizers and vermi-compost, but also specialised industry specific pelletizing equipment.”

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.

According to Lionel Billings, a member of the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year ® judging panel, Eksteen is a prime example of a true entrepreneur – someone who was able to not give up on his dream. “Through sheer grit and determination, Johan stabilised a struggling business, became a specialist and was able to infiltrate a difficult European market successfully with his unique business offering.”

Eksteen says that being granted the opportunity to have his business assessed by a successful and experienced panel of competition judges, as well as winning this division of the competition, has given added courage and confidence to expand his business even further. “Winning this award proves to me that the journey was worth all the hard work and sacrifices. It also provides my team and I with a new, invigorated feeling of enthusiasm to take Agricon even further.” concludes Eksteen.

For more information on Agricon Pty Ltd, please visit