Born in Johannesburg, in 1976, Avi is one of South Africa’s leading international entrepreneurs. Winner of the Prestigious Shell Young Entrepreneur of the year award in 2004, in 2005 he set-up Trimega Laboratories, a world-leading, Manchester-based forensic science company. Prior to Trimega, Avi founded DNA Bioscience, a paternity testing company. He began his career at Citibank, where he became an Assistant VP in the bank’s technology department, before turning to entrepreneurship. In 2009, he was shortlisted for the UK National Entrepreneur Award.
Avi is widely recognised as one of the industry’s key pioneers and innovators. Avi’s world-leading research into hair testing has led to recent experience including crime scene visits in developing countries, the commercialisation of the worlds first Hair Alcohol Test to determine alcohol dependency, and the implementation of South Africa's first ever roadside drug testing pilot project, developing EtG alcohol testing for urine. Avi’s expertise also led to his appointment by the Government of Libya to analyse the DNA samples from the victims of the Airbus A330 that crashed at Tripoli airport, after a flight from Johannesburg.
Avi has long-standing interests in and commitments to the Midlands. In 2011, Avi was invited by the National Association of Child Contact Centres to be a Trustee on a national basis with focus on Midlands and the north-west England. Avi is a long-standing member of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, and with Trimega, sponsored the Birmingham Law Society and the Leicestershire Law Society in 2011.
Avi’s contribution to the development of trade relations between South Africa and the UK has included:
- 2012. Guest speaker at the Grahamstown Investec School of Business to talk about bi-lateral relations and entrepreneurship.
- 2011. Wreath-laying at Birmingham’s Centenary Square Remembrance Day service, 13 November, in memory of the 25 South Africans pilots who flew in the Battle of Britain, and the hundreds of South Africans who flew for the cause of freedom in World War Two.
- 2011. Guest speaker at the UK South African National Youth Development Conference to talk, on the topic of youth development in South Africa.
- 2011. Guest speaker at The South African Business Club, London, the City’s leading South African networking organisation, on “tips learned” as an entrepreneur doing business both in the UK and South Africa.
- 2010. Invited to speak as part of a panel in London at the “Home-Coming Revolution” conference in London, providing insights for entrepreneurs aiming to return back to South Africa and setup a business. The Homecoming Revolution is a non-profit organisation aimed at reversing South African skills shortages.
- Speaker at Buckingham Palace with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in Audience and 250 heads of local authority children services to talk about how drugs and alcohol impact families and children, which is a technology now exported to South Africa.
Giving back is important to Avi. Under his management, Trimega provided more than £40,000 to the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and £5,000 to the National Association of Child Contact Centres, and has funded projects in the UK and South Africa, including the first ever study into alcohol patterns in pregnant woman, in partnership with the Medical Research Council of South Africa, to assist Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.