Before Johan Eksteen studied for his MBA, his pelleting business was a hobby — a means for him and his brother to earn some extra income. Eksteen’s master’s degree in sustainable agriculture was a nice-to-have but it hadn’t transformed his career. So when he found himself posted to Uganda by an employer, he decided it was time for change. He enrolled for a distance MBA at the University of the Free State Business School and almost immediately began to see his hobby in another light. Agricon today is a world leader in agricultural pelleting – the production and distribution of pellets for animal feeds, fertilisers and biomass products. It has been responsible for developing new technologies and its machines are exported to 27 countries in Africa, Europe and Asia. When Eksteen began his MBA, however, Agricon, founded in 1993, was still "something I kept on the backburner". He and his brother produced a couple of machines each year. "One sale funded the next. The business was something...

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