Featured mentors

Anthea Ambursley

Anthea’s parents were farmers, and so the seed of self-employment was literally planted in her at a very young age. Since then, she’s embarked on a vertical career curve that has seen her become a highly sought-after business coach and international speaker. She self-published a motivational book, “Nothing is Impossible”, which sold over 1 000 copies in the first month, by word of mouth. She is the founder of Anansi Training, an entrepreneurial training hub. And she’s started a social enterprise called ‘AfriCAN Child: Your Time is Now’, which focuses on empowerment of youth and women. When she’s not at home with her husband and busy 5-year-old, you’ll find her kick-boxing, walking on hot coals or cut glass, and dancing

Anthony Orelowitz

With both a B Arch and an MBA behind him, Anthony Orelowitz, director of The Paragon Group, is perfectly poised to produce more than just pretty buildings, but rather lifestyle spaces. With beauties like the Sasol building in Sandton and the Alice Lane Development to their name, Anthony and the Group are totally invested in the South African skyline. Anthony’s management style is firmly hands-on, with continuous interaction and engagement with clients. But his engagement goes beyond clients to the students that he mentors at UJ and Wits, where he’s also an external examiner. He’s also co-created a separate fully Black-owned entity – Paragon Architects South Africa – and the Group offers bursaries to aspiring students.

Tebogo Mogashoa

Raised in Soweto, this engineering graduate makes entrepreneurship look effortless. Tebogo Mogashoa started his consulting engineering business straight off campus. From there, with enough guts, vision and gung ho to power up a city grid, he branched out into finance, property development, fleet management, asset finance, development funding and ICT. Tebogo is a truly strategic thinker who believes in the power of synchronicity to unlock potential and drive innovation. As chairperson of The Talis Holdings Group, his aim is to identify and invest in growth sectors in the African economy. With a finger in every pie, he’s now branched out into table grape production and rare game species breeding. There’s no stopping him!

Manny Rivera

Raised in New York, Manny has never been one to do things in half measures. A baseball scholarship put him in line for the Big League, but a torn rotary cuff forced the pitcher to ditch his dreams. Undeterred, he followed his South African sweetheart home and launched a health and fitness phenomenon on SA soil. Planet Fitness currently boasts 24 outlets and 12 JustGyms. Manny saw the gap and took the low-cost, no-frills JustGyms to the townships, where they are booming. He’s also launched a virtual personal trainer at a fraction of the fee of a real one. Manny’s plan is to expand over the next five years and branch into Kenya. From a home-style gym in Benoni to a business empire worth R2 billion, Manny’s unstoppable.

Gideon Galloway

Gideon Galloway, founder and CEO of King Price Insurance, is the newest kid on the block in the SA short-term insurance industry. A serial entrepreneur, Gideon has founded several successful companies such as SABest and ThinkTank. But this prodigy is not prepared to rely solely on great insurance products for success – for him it’s all about realising human potential and possibility. That’s why the King Price workspace looks like Google’s HQ! Says Gideon, “People become more creative when they’re having fun: your mind seems to work better, you’re more relaxed and come up with new ideas. That’s why we have fewer meetings, and we talk rather than email.” Finally, that ‘fun’ translates into brilliant customer service.

Mike Whitfield

Mike is MD of Nissan South Africa, and he has confessed that his first car, a Datsun Coupé, was sunshine yellow. Mike has extensive experience in the automotive industry. He joined Nissan in 1981 as a marketing trainee, working his way up to management. The industry is in his blood, as his father, Peter, is a former chairman and his son works at the Nissan Diesel truck company. Mike was the first South African to receive an international posting with Nissan, spending time in Scandinavia turning around a fractured division. But he couldn’t stay away and returned to SA with his wife’s beloved horses in tow. He says Nissan’s parent company remains committed to SA, as does he. He’s excited about the future of electric vehicles on the continent.

Mike Coppin

Michael, along with brother Brian, is co-founder and Director of Fruit & Veg City Holdings (Pty) Ltd. The Coppin brothers come from a long line of retailers: their father headed OK Bazaars for four decades, and the boys worked their way up through the management ranks. The company started out small, supplying a single outlet, but has grown beautifully and now includes 20 corporate stores, 78 franchises, and a turnover of R2,1billion. The Coppin bros are micro-managers who maintain standards across all franchises with a healthy hands-on approach. Their Food Lover’s Market and Fresher Food stores are seen as a first-class destination for all things fresh. And, with exports growing, they recently opened their first overseas store in Australia. 

Rosemary Nalden

Rosemary is founder of Buskaid and Director of the Buskaid Soweto String Project. Compassion is a strong driver in her life. Her father grew up in grim circumstances and overcame impossible odds to become a pioneering force for education and performance in New Zealand. Ever her father’s daughter, Rosemary freelanced in London for over twenty-five years as a leading member of string ensembles, but when, in 1991, she heard of a string project in Soweto that needed help, she caught the first flight out. And she’s never looked back. In spite of funding challenges, she has transformed the lives of hundreds of township kids, whose performances have enthralled audiences from Auckland to Aleppo. In 2002 she was awarded an MBE for her work with Buskaid. 

 

Lira

Born in Daveyton, Joburg, Lira is a sensational songstress whose name translates to ‘love’ in Sesotho. Which must account for the fact that her audiences are truly smitten. Her unique fusion of soul, funk, jazz and African rhythms has earned her a string of awards and accolades. She grew up listening to Miriam Makeba and Nina Simone, and began performing live at the age of 16. Lira’s mom has always grounded her, and so this beauty from Daveyton took up an accounting degree, trading accounting skills for recording time at a local studio. It’s this combination of superlative talent and streetwise savvy that has set her on a stellar career path. But her success is matched by a dedication to the upliftment of disadvantaged communities in SA.

Pamela Niemand

Pamela is co-owner and CEO of Westpoint, Times Square and Max Executive Suites. Her entrepreneurial journey began at a tender age, when she sold chips and ice lollies at school, and she landed her first paying job at 15. Her venture into the brave new world of apartment hotels back in 2001 made her a millionaire by age 27. Pamela realised that many international executives preferred the more natural, home-style accommodation offered by an apartment, rather than the more confined quarters of a standard hotel room, and so business boomed. Currently, she’s invested in a women empowerment programme in the townships that enables women to start their own businesses. She’s also a director and trustee on various associations and body corporates.

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