Next week, TRIUM’s Class of 2017 head to Paris for their final module where they will present their Capstone Projects to the Capstone Board. The project is a culmination of the knowledge and experience they have gained over the last 18 months, putting their business theory into practice in an original business model. Read Class of 2016 alum Peter McFadyen’s story a year on from his Capstone group’s presentation last year. Peter’s experience shows how you can ‘make it happen.’
Peter started his TRIUM journey with a BA in Agricultural Science and a Masters in Engineering Science, he had extensive experience in project delivery, technical studies and senior management within agriculture, construction and the mining industries in Australia and Latin America. Peter now embarks on a new stage in his career producing and exporting premium cocoa from Latin America. Just a month after graduating from TRIUM Peter and his family moved to Nicaragua from Peru to start a business idea developed in the Capstone Program. Peter knows that starting a business in a new country is always a journey of discovery. He says:
“We are in a two steps forward and one step back phase (establishment) at present with significant focus on due diligence, design, R&D, marketing, legal and accounting consuming the bulk of my time.”
To date Peter has succeeded in entering into a commercial property lease to allow R&D trials on fermentation and drying of cocoa, finalising his first property purchase, tweaking the design of the cocoa and cattle farming systems to improve synergies and potential market accreditations, as well as attending cocoa conferences.
And what inspired Peter’s interest and passion for producing premium cocoa?
“The list is endless,” he says. “An evolving market opportunity initially, based on unique product development in Central America to service a growing global market hungry for luxury chocolate.”
Here he reflects on his transformational TRIUM journey:
Peter was first attracted to TRIUM by the diversity of the content and the global, network of colleagues and professors, all inspired by his goal to prepare himself for new opportunities and refine new ideas for a business though the Capstone Project. In particular, the corporate strategy and entrepreneurship components struck an important chord for Peter by expanding his knowledge base significantly and informing the development of his team’s Capstone Project. Peter states that:
“Capstone was a large drawcard for me. It allowed for a structured way to approach a new business with progressive feedback but also required forming a group of different professionals to deliver a succinct project. Coaching associated with developing a minimum viable product was very useful in the iterative development of the project.”
The Capstone Project grew to be Peter’s Premium Cocoa business with two fellow TRIUM graduates continuing to provide ongoing advice and help with sample distribution in Europe.
For Peter, TRIUM provided a launch-pad to his business idea and Peter is a great example of how TRIUM can help bring such ideas to life. We asked what his three take-aways from the TRIUM experience were, he offered:
“1. The world is and continues to evolve in terms of globalisation presenting new opportunities and reducing others – i.e. comparative analysis of regional demographics and economy can identify great opportunities,
2. A new found appreciation for marketing nuance and alternative business models,
3. The value of peer review”
And finally as an Australian living in Central America where in the world would Peter hold a TRIUM module and what would be the topic? He replied:
“Nicaragua of course – doing business in a developing country where:
· a demographic dividend is just starting to take off
· making the most of investor incentives
· location relevance to market”
Today Peter is busier than even he imagined with his business, fast tracking infrastructure for his cocoa and harvesting trials before tropical low Otto hit. His pilot facility has evolved to facilitate fermentation trials and a boutique drying facility for his product and he has doubled the size over three months to expand the R & D component. To further enhance the key R&D component of the cocoa, Peter commences a part time PhD in Cocoa with key cocoa and cattle universities in 2017 in Latin America.
As our graduating Class of 2017 prepare to present their Capstone Projects at Module 6 in February, the TRIUM community watches with interest and pride as Peter continues to make his dream a reality.