Avi Lasarow

In 2011, The Times newspaper published an article about hair testing that cast doubt on the hair testing procedures of Avi Lasarow's company, Trimega Laboratories. In what he calls the scariest thing he's ever done, Lasarow fought back. He knew that the claims in the story weren't correct, and that he had to do something.

The paper was compelled by a court to publish a correction soon afterwards.
"It cost £250,000 and some grey hair," says Lasarow, "but was worth every penny spent. Reputation is everything."

As a Mamba Mentor, Lasarow embodies not only a rock-solid reputation, but a good dose of grit. He began his career in estate agency sales, but soon got bored with the slow pace of the job. Starting up in the business of DNA testing, he scrapped and fought his way through several difficult business decisions before starting up Trimega in 2005. The company started in a tiny room, and has since grown to become one of the most respected in the UK.

Lasarow's reputation is such that he was recently made an Honorary Consul, a position which he still holds. This came about after he helped developed a roadside drug-testing project alongside the police services - this, alongside his other projects in South Africa, helped mark him out as someone worthy of the role. "As an entrepreneur, regardless of which country I am doing deals in and attempting to make a difference, I never shy away from [being] proudly South African," he says. "It's important...to always fly the flag high."

Quick Strikes

  • Born: 2 January 1975
  • Business achievement he's most proud of: Successfully commercialising the world's first hair alcohol test that now keep thousands of children safer on a monthly basis. The net result was also the get the support of world scientists and feed them back information on the tests so that they can continue to enhance academia.
  • Person he most admires: Our President, Jacob Zuma. He keeps making changes in the country that enhance the opportunities for everyday South Africans.
  • Best piece of business advice he's ever been given: If you can't afford to do this or make this bigger move then you should not be in business!
  • When he's off the job, what does he enjoy doing: An entrepreneur is always on the job - so creating new ideas and turning them into realities.
  • What has his position at Trimega taught him about business:

1. Always surround yourself with people that believe in your vision.
2. Never be scared to fight for your belief and, if need be, go to the high court - protect your reputation at all costs
3. At a particular stage in growth it's important to develop a public affairs strategy.

  • What's the most unexpectedly successful business idea he's ever seen: The mines in South Africa recently changed legislation that says explosives must be kept 'on land' not under the ground like they used to be. A friend of mine started to make a container specific to the requirement of storing explosives. This plugged a gap in the market and his order book is now full for two years, netting him R2m per month. He cannot make them fast enough. It succeeded because he spotted the gap and was first to market with his idea.