Marco Broccardo

CEO: Eurocom

Last year was a pinnacle year in Marco Broccardo's life. In May, at the African Access National Business Awards, he won the title of 2010 Top Young Entrepreneur in South Africa and in November the 31-year-old reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, completing the first step in his three-and-a-half year campaign to climb the highest mountains on all seven continents. But if Broccardo is reaching great heights it's only because he hit rock bottom in 1999, when drug addiction all but destroyed his life. After two-and- a-half years in rehab he emerged with the vision of starting Mountain Heights, an organisation dedicated to spreading awareness about drug abuse and raising funds to build addiction rehab centres throughout South Africa. In 2006 the vision began to become a reality when he opened Eurocom, a specialist mobile marketing and new media company created to fund Mountain Heights. Today, some of Mountain Heights's most outspoken supporters are also Eurocom clients, many of them media owners who help to spread the organisation's message of hope. In January 2012 Broccardo will be tackling yet another major venture. With a team of athletes and former addicts he will attempt to cross the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Desert, hoping to complete the first-ever unassisted walk across this 1 000km expanse. With the unstinting support of his wife and two young boys Broccardo hopes to continue to show the world what recovered addicts are capable of. "Addicts are tenacious when it comes to getting their drugs,� he says. "If a person can come clean and continue to utilise those skills you end up with a relatively powerful and motivated individual who can achieve great things.� If you think this sounds like the subject for a bestseller you're not wrong. Broccardo is finishing his memoirs, entitled From Gutter Depths to Mountain Heights. � Eric Axelrod

Twitter: @marcobro