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Business Administration (Amsterdam MBA)

MBA Success stories #1

Did you know some avocados are too ugly to be sold in the supermarket? MBA alumnus Dave le Roux found a good destination for these “second grade” leftovers: healthy avocado oil. Within a year, the products of his company Soilmates could be found at popular outlets such as Albert Heijn

Dave was born and raised in South Africa, where he obtained his Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and PGDA (Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting). After working in finance in Johannesburg, London and rural Kenya, he relocated to the Netherlands. While completing his MBA at the Amsterdam Business School, Dave played a significant part in the launch and development of the Elgon avocado brand in Europe and Asia.

How did you get the idea to start Soilmates?

While working in my previous role at Elgon, I became aware of the significant waste in the fresh food industry in the Netherlands. Having seen the impact that this waste can have on the farmers who grow it, as well as the impact on the environment, it seemed a logical step to integrate a business along the value chain. I communicated this thought early on to an investor and a colleague in my network, and the three of us decided to follow the opportunity together.

What did the Amsterdam MBA bring you in your career?

The Amsterdam MBA gave me great insight into the core components of running and growing a business. It provided networking opportunities, enhanced my skills in areas where I had little to no experience, and also instilled an element of adaptability and calm to my outlook on new partnerships and projects. A significant use of the skills gained in the MBA is linked to funding the company. When creating and presenting a business strategy, the MBA provided the core components to be able to do this in a convincing and clear way. Added to this, just the MBA qualification itself adds weight to the future of the business.

What was the biggest challenge for your business?

Getting our first product into Albert Heijn. As a startup, you are really on the back foot when entering a major market and convincing a big player that you can fulfil all of the required obligations is not easy. Luckily they took a chance with us, and we have made it count!

What does the future look like for Soilmates?

We are currently opening new markets, with Germany and Scandinavia top of the list. Alongside this we are doing further product development to enable us to offer a wider product range and increase our attractiveness to retail.