Jonathan Shapiro is a South African social impact entrepreneur, business leader and mentor. His business drive is a product of his challenging academic years. Having graduated high school without a university entrance and no real direction, he soon began working at the family electrical manufacturing business, LESCO, cleaning the warehouse, packing boxes and rearranging the stalls and most importantly on the assembly line making products.
Years later, Jonathan is the CEO of LESCO, employing over 100 locally semi-skilled, disabled and unskilled workers. By pivoting and adapting the business model, he has dramatically changed the business and in turn has created a pipeline of new job opportunities for the differently abled.
Jonathan has a diploma in marketing and finance from Boston College and has attended multiple short courses at GIBS - from business strategy essentials, to driving sales force and finance for non-financial managers. Jonathan has previously spoken at various events and webinars which focus on mentorship, skills development and job creation. LESCO products are now available in every retail store in South Africa.
LESCO is now embarking on setting up various operations on the continent with the same focus on creating work opportunities for those marginalized in the past. Jonathan is excited to use his current mentorships and passion toward enabling LESCO to accelerate the rate and pace of employment in South Africa through the company’s unique business model, and through developing strategic partnerships and interpersonal relationships, he is driving LESCO forward, tackling South Africa’s unemployment problem at the grassroots level.
In 2015, Jonathan was nominated for the ABSA Jewish achiever Awards for unlisted companies and for the Creative Counsel Young Jewish entrepreneur awards. In 2016, LESCO was a runner up in the FNB business innovation awards.
Together with a friend he has started a non-profit called "Climbing 4 Change" and will be climbing Kilimanjaro later this year in the hope of inspiring people to put one foot forward during these hard times. Together with Afrika Tikkun, they will also be raising money for food security in South Africa, with the hope of feeding 1000’s of families.
Jonathan is the new CEO and active board member of the SAICC - The South African Israeli Chamber of Commerce.
“Through my education at King David, I developed a strong affiliation with the State of Israel and discovered what it means to be Jewish and maintain strong family values. Being a remedial student, I am grateful to Mrs Dansky, and my late mom, for believing in me and for providing a solid foundation that helped me develop beyond my own expectations”.