The People And Networks Gemelli Founder And Other Inspiring Entrepreneurs Credit For Their Success

Updated on 30 August 2017

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The People And Networks Gemelli Founder And Other Inspiring Entrepreneurs Credit For Their Success

Speak to any entrepreneur and you’ll find that most will say they owe their success, in part, to someone who was willing to lend them a hand, particularly in the early days.

This was the case for property guru, Jonathan Liebmann, comedian and restaurateur, Donovan Goliath, restaurateur, Alessandro Khojane and fashion photographer, Trevor Stuurman, who all credit their networks and connections for opening some doors as part of the latest campaign #OpenDoor by MINI Clubman.

The campaign is the latest in a move by big brands to use entrepreneurs’ inspirational journeys to spread their message. Just recently we saw Nedbank, as part of their See Money Differently‘ campaign feature business icon Richard Maponya, among others. Chivas Regal South Africa earlier this year, together with fashion entrepreneur Laduma Ngxokolo of MaXhosa by Laduma launched an initiative aimed at empowering South African creative entrepreneurs. 

Curious about Jonathan Liebmann, Donovan Goliath, Alessandro Khojane and Trevor Stuurman’s network? Here are the mentors, investors and friends that helped them get their start in business.

ALESSANDRO KHOJANE​ (Gemelli Cucina Bar)
Born in Bloemfontein and raised in Italy, Khojane is the man behind one of Gauteng’s most popular Italian eateries, Gemelli Cucina Bar.

Khojane credits his brother Thabo Khojane as well as Jeremy Ord for giving him the backing that launched his venture. A heavyweight in his own right, Thabo is the deputy managing director at Investec Asset Management, and also served as vice president of civil society agency, Southern Africa Fund Inc.

Ord is a business leader and co-founder and executive chair of the South African tech giant, Dimension Data Holdings.

DONOVAN GOLIATH (Roast Cafe and The Goliath Comedy Club)
Goliath is a comedian who successfully ventured into business. He is the co-founder of the coffee and entertainment venue, Roast Cafe and The Goliath Comedy Club with partners Jason, Nicholas and Kate Goliath. He credits veteran comedian David Kau as well as his comedy contemporary Ndumiso Lindi for his initial big break in comedy.

Kroonstad-born Kau is probably most well-known for his ‘Blacks Only’ comedy show which has been running for 13 years, and who could forget the genre-defining Pure Monate Show he created with his varsity buddy Kagiso Lediga.

Go to any big comedy stage in South Africa and you’re likely to see Lindi on the bill. He often headlines gigs such as Blacks Only, Heavyweight Comedy Jam and Nando’s Comedy Festival, sharing the stage with the likes of Mel Miller, Riaad Moosa and David Kau.

TREVOR STUURMAN​​ (Brand Ambassador)

Stylist, photographer and influencer ​Trevor Stuurman got his break in 2012 when he was named ELLE Style Reporter for his style and camera skills, and he has been on the rise ever since. It comes as no surprise that he credits the global magazine brand for opening the door for him and ultimately his rise to the top.

He has since been featured in various campaigns including being appointed brand ambassador for flavoured beer Flying Fish, he collaborated with Superga for their Summer 2016/17 collection as well as being named as one of the stars of Woolworths’ AW15 campaign.

See also: What We Learnt From This App About The Power Of Money

Liebmann is best known as the entrepreneur behind the transformation of the Maboneng District in Johannesburg, and his mission is to do the same to more inner city spots around the country. He is the founder and CEO of the property development company, Propertuity.

In the campaign, Liebmann credits his extensive network growing up, as having played a critical role in the growth of his business. According to Biznews, having come from a very entrepreneurial family, it was early private funders that gave Liebmann his first investment. Institutional funders such as Futuregrowth, as well as Trust for Urban Housing Finance (TUHF), and Nedbank later also backed Liebmann’s various ventures.

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