It’s one of M-Net’s most exciting shows of the year and after weeks of filming, Shark Tank South Africa premieres this evening. In Shark Tank South Africa, entrepreneurs go up in front of a panel of esteemed successful South African business moguls, known as the “sharks”, who are willing to invest their own money and time in deserving and potentially lucrative business ideas. The trick is in convincing these highly critical and experienced sharks that it will be worth their while to invest in your business.

M-Net have put together some of South Africa’s most successful business owners and, in my opinion, could not have found a more dynamic bunch. Get to know more about the sharks ahead of the series’ premiere.

Gil Oved

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Gil Oved – the group co-CEO of The Creative Counsel, the South African advertising agency that was bought over by French mega agency Publicis Groupe for a reported record-breaking eight-digit Rand figure. Gil, who holds two business degrees, graduating with a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) and Bachelor of Commerce cum laude, started his illustrious business career along with high school friend Ran Neu-Ner, armed with nothing but a telephone and the Yellow Pages. In 2001, they founded The Creative Counsel, and 14 years later their humble two-man operation grew into the largest communications and advertising group in Africa, with an annual turnover of over R700 Million, employing over 1000 full-time employees and creating tens of thousands of part-time jobs. These days, Gil is also a board member on South Africa’s second biggest venture capital tech fund, Grotech, giving him insight into South Africa’s most exciting venture capital companies. Shark Tank South Africa is not Gil’s first stint in front of the television cameras. He hosted a youth show in his teens and, after matriculating, he illustrated his entrepreneurial spirit by creating his own television production company. Viewers of M-Net’s sister channel Mzansi Magic will have also seen how Gil gave several entrepreneurs a break into the world of business on Dragon’s Den.

Marnus Broodryk

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At the age of 14 Marnus Broodryk, who sometimes had to mow lawns and wash cars to pay for his school fees, started his first business, designing websites. By the time he turned 24 he was a self-made millionaire, and today this 30-year-old entrepreneur extraordinaire can boast that he has launched several multi-million Rand companies. For Marnus, however, making money is just as important as empowering others with the knowledge and resources to create their own successful enterprises. Marnus, who is also known as the hosts of a financial insert on the kykNET show Winslyn, is keen to invest in business to business services or products, ideally with subscription models; business models with a focus on SMEs; technology companies; e-commerce; and companies with a social impact.

Dawn Nathan-Jones

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Dawn Nathan-Jones’ illustrious career started at the age of 21 when she joined Imperial Car founding members Carol Scott and Maureen Jackson, who identified a gap in the market and then took on other car rental giants with only five cars and plenty of passion. Her ability to continuously innovate, re-invent and drive change later landed her the coveted position of CEO of the Imperial Group’s Car Rental Division consisting of Europcar South Africa, Europcar Van Rental, Europcar Chauffeur Service, Tempest Car Hire, Auto Pedigree, Imperial Autobody, Danmar and Gage Car Hire. Her achievements include taking the business from humble beginnings to a fleet of 20 000 vehicles by the time she stepped down from her role as CEO at the end of 2015, after 16 years at the helm. Dawn was instrumental in the rebranding of Imperial Holdings in 2009 as Chairman of the Imperial Brand Council. Imperial Car Rental and Europcar merged in 2007, and she was responsible for the repositioning of the car rental division and consolidation and rebranding of Imperial Car Rental to Europcar in 2009. In 2007, Dawn won the Transnet Foundation’s Boss of The Year Award, and in 2012 she was appointed as the Vice President of the industry body SAVRALA, where she has played an active role for the past 20 years. She is a member of the Business Women’s Association, IWF (International Women’s Forum), Institute of Directors, an advocate of Equal Opportunities for Women, and founded the Europcar Jewish Woman in Leadership Award. She has been an active lobbyist between government authorities and businesses particularly in the Motor Industry, and the South African Retail and Rental and Leasing Associations. Furthermore, she has been involved with many tourism bodies and played an active role in various tourism initiatives and industry advisory boards.

Romeo Kumalo

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Well-known telecommunications expert, media personality and commercial strategist Romeo Kumalo has also joned Shark Tank. Romeo, who is currently the CEO and major shareholder of Washirika (Pty) Limited – a pan-African investment holdings and private equity company with investments in the communication, construction, clean energy and ICT sectors – believes that Shark Tank South Africa is a great platform to support the growth of healthy business culture in South Africa. He holds a Masters Degree in Commerce as well as executive management certificates from WITS, INSEAD and Harvard Business School and has worked, lived and travelled extensively over the continent. In South Africa, his more than 20 years’ worth of experience in the information, communication and telecoms industries includes his appointment to the Board of Vodacom South Africa as Executive Commercial Director in 2007. He was also a member of the Vodacom Group Executive Committee until 2015.

Vinny Lingham

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Becoming a millionaire at the age of 35, Vinny is currently the co­-founder and CEO of Civic Technologies Inc, ­a startup company that sets out to eliminate new account fraud and prevent identity theft. He recently raised $2.75 million in venture funding led by notable investor Social Leverage. He was also the co­founder and CEO of Gyft, ­ a mobile gift card company founded in 2012 and backed by Google Ventures. Gyft quickly became the leading player in the space and was acquired by global payments giant, First Data Corporation in 2014, for over $50 million. Vinny previously founded and ran Yola.com, Clicks2Customers and incuBeta. Furthermore, Vinny is the co­founder of SiliconCape.com, an NGO based in South Africa that aims to turn Cape Town into a technology hub.

Shark Tank South Africa premieres tonight on M-Net and will screen every Sunday at 18h00 for the next 12 weeks.

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