10. Seek Intelligent Capital

Jacob’s Dilemma

A gentleman closed in on me quickly: “My name is Jacob. I have a great project to plant and process palm oil. How can you help me find money?” I had just spoken at an agribusiness forum in Amsterdam. While my speech dealt with investments in Africa, I started wondering how my words put me in this situation.

Over 20 years, Jacob had built an agro processing plant specializing in edible oils such as soy and peanut. What began as a small shop was now a major factory with 200 employees. Now, Jacob wanted to diversify into palm oil: 20,000 hectares and a state-of-the-art factory.

This is a big opportunity that requires big money: eight million euros. Putting my MBA cap on, I replied that a typical venture ...

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