Clear outs, some cows, Israeli humous and Pepsi

What should my budding entrepreneur do? Sitting opposite me yesterday was a very talented young gentleman. He had found a way to import cheap goods into Israel, sell the stock quickly, while gathering loads of satisfied customers and locking up a wad of liquid profits.

Should he take the business up a phase? Can he develop his idea and start to realise his extended vision?

I pointed him to a story in the weekend Hebrew press. Strauss Ltd is an economic food giant in Israel. Legend has it that the company started operations nearly 80 years back. Grandmother Strauss fled Germany, acquired 2 cows and started selling the milk in a small town in northern Israel.

Around 15 years ago, Strauss bought out Elite, Israel’s largest sweet manufacturer. It now dominates the Israeli humous, tehina and “dips” market. Ofra Strauss, chairperson of the Strauss Group, is considered the 12th most influential woman in the world, according to Forbes Magazine.

Two years ago, Strauss began to explore a joint venture with PepsiCo, a US$43 billion food conglomerate. The aim was to buy the company Sabra, and latch on to the growing humous market in the USA. The relationship has proved an amazing success. Ofra Strauss is even pally with Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo and 3rd in the Forbes list.

Last week, the two companies upped the level of engagement. They announced an agreement to co-own a new 300 hundred employee plant in the state of Virginia, not bad for an area suffering over 7% unemployment. The American humous market is about to become very spicy overnight.

My prospective client might be better off by moving to the USA and opening up a pita business, which will compliment the Strauss-PepsiCo cooperation. Whatever his choice, grandmother Strauss should remain a simple yet pertinent inspiration during his decision making over the next few days.

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