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South Africa

Analyse This: Ashburton’s Isabella Mnisi

We analyse Isabella Mnisi co-head of private markets at Ashburton Investments.

If someone came to you tomorrow with R100m to invest in just one company, which would it be?

I would invest it in Shoprite and hope that over time the board progresses to better reflect the demographics of our country.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Being able to read people’s minds. I’m sure it would be both fascinating and daunting to know people’s thoughts.

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Due Diligence: How Nisela Capital’s founder made the moves that mattered

How we made it in Africa’s Due Diligence series asks top players in Africa’s private equity industry about how they are mastering the art and science of profitable dealmaking and fundraising. Doing the due diligence on those who do due diligence for a living.

Where did it all begin?

I started my career with Investec inside the Private Client and Investment Banking team. We serviced wealthy families with net asset values of R250m (US$21.4m) or more and managed both sides of their balance sheets. I then ended up working in a niche looking after some of the bigger, well-known black families, who were involved in a lot of the black empowerment transactions in the early to mid-2000s.

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Entrepreneur: Brett Dawson’s life after Dimension Data

With a track record as enviable as former Dimension Data CEO Brett Dawson’s, you’d think his investing in a gifting service would be an odd choice. But tech start-ups that are looking ahead to the "fourth industrial revolution" to disrupt the way we have always done things are exactly where Dawson sees growth. He has launched a venture capital firm of his own called Campan, which will target start-ups specialising in technology solutions. Dawson, who has spent a year quietly putting Campan together, has already made six investments.

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From the pits to the pinnacle: A lesson in endurance for entrepreneurs

“If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.”

Hearing these words immediately conjures up images of many a dreamer, taking on the Big Apple in hopes of success. Most likely with a Frank Sinatra-mantra in their heads. But what if you could not make it there? Then what? Lee den Hond, owner and founder of Blue Platinum Events, speaks like she lives: vigorously and with fervour. She states with humble conviction that the success that she has achieved with her company in the last 18 years had its birth in what was probably the darkest moment of her professional career. At the age of 30, the South African entrepreneur did go to New York in the hope of making it big in the marketing department of Nike. She did not, however, succeed.

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