Spencer Shaw

Spencer Shaw has heard all the jokes. It comes with the territory. As CEO of SG Shaw Foods, he was the sole South African franchisee of a restaurant chain synonymous with big-chested waitresses — Hooters. But no one was laughing when he won the Restaurant Association of South Africa’s Service Excellence award in his first year of opening or when he opened his third branch in Cape Town at the end of 2011. And you can bet his critics went silent when he sold the popular local chain to publicly listed company in the USA, late last year. An entrepreneur since 19, Shaw has built as many skills in the food and beverages industry as he has enterprises, which include Shaw Quality Commodities and Shaw Specialised Brand Distribution. The charismatic Durbanite is also a silent shareholder in J&S Merchandising, Shaw Events and Richie Shaw Construction.

— Cat Pritchard