Mandla Sibeko

Chairman, Netflorist SA

Thriving entrepreneur Mandla Sibeko believes his impeccable business sense comes from living with his grandmother in rural Mpumalanga. He would help her make soup and sell it to factories in the area. "Watching her try to make a living through that taught me a lot about good business,� he says. Sibeko knew when he was in high school that he wanted to be a businessman and said so publicly when he appeared as a member of a youth panel on the Felicia Mabuza-Suttle show. Fresh out of university with a BA law under his belt Sibeko landed up working for Love- Life � "by default� , he says. Several years later, he started his first company � Born Free Media � with two partners. "When I started, I was receiving no salary,� says Sibeko, who contributed R10 000 to the initial R30 000 capital of the company. Born Free Media went on to make awardwinning shows, some of which Sibeko is proud to have produced and created. Now the entrepreneur, who was named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader in 2010, seems to have a proverbial finger in every pie. He is one of three directors of Icon South Africa, chairman of Netflorist SA, a director and shareholder of Identity Signs and co-owner of the Pick n Pay in Kliptown, Soweto. Sibeko's business interests have varied from media to retail and he says that "the one thing that has driven me is that � I have always invested in my passions� . In his case, that is clearly a recipe for success. � Lisa Steyn

Lunch spot: Tortellino D'Oro, Oaklands, Johannesburg