Avi Lasarow, 38, was on Saturday awarded the African Entrepreneur of the Year award at the African Enterprise Awards, largely for his work in driving genetic research in the health and fitness market globally. The largest African awards ceremony of its kind in the UK, the African Enterprise Awards celebrates the achievements of all African professionals and entrepreneurs including all African nationalities.
Judges at the Awards said that Lasarow represents the “passion and hunger of an individual that not only makes things happen, but disrupts niche markets with a positive foot print”.
Lasarow commercialised the world’s first Hair Alcohol Test with his company, Trimega Laboratories; rolled out the first roadside drug testing project in South Africa; was engaged by the Attorney General and the Head of Civil Aviation of Libya to identify victims of the 2010 Libya Afriqiyah Airways flight disaster through DNA analysis and is working on projects such as a test for foetal alcohol syndrome in new born babies and testing for ARV compliance amongst HIV sufferers in developing countries.
Last year, he founded DNAFit, a British nutrigenetics company that tests and analyses more than 40 gene variants that are scientifically linked to a body’s capacity to respond to training and nutrition. Various English Premier League footballers including South African Kagisho Dikgacoi are using the technology to improve their performance. DNAFit is set to take on Google by analysis of an individual’s complete genome sequence for the benefit of science and research.
In 2002 the Johannesburg-born entrepreneur became the youngest person ever to be appointed as an Honorary Consul for South Africa to the United Kingdom, when Jacob Zuma appointed him to the Midlands region,
responsible for promoting bi-lateral trade, skills transfer and other work as an extension to the South African High Commission in London.
Lasarow, who dropped out of high school aged 16, credits his entrepreneurial drive to living alone in the United States and working in a sandwich shop while studying towards his American grade 12 general equivalency diploma.
“One can be an entrepreneur anywhere. It takes vision; if you can see it then it will happen. Then you need a plan and people around you who believe in your vision,” he said. “I also believe that in your business journey if you set out to make a difference as opposed to make money, then the money will follow.”