A clever classmate selling his mum’s toffees in the school playground for a few cents each lit up a world of possibilities for a young Mark Bouris. “I thought, ‘Wow, that’s good. He’s making money!’” says Bouris, who was 13 at the time and growing up in the working-class Sydney suburb of Punchbowl.
Bouris soon came up with his own business—making and making wooden pipes—and “it took off,” he says. Call it a glimmer of his Midas touch to come. Today, the former host of The Celebrity Apprentice Australia, founder of Wizard Home Loans and executive chairman of Yellow Brick Road, is helping transform the fortunes of struggling small-business owners in Seven’s new series The Mentor (starting April 23, 9PM).
“I get to know their families and everything that’s going on in their lives,” says Bouris, 61, who guides entrepreneurs on the show inspired by his podcast of the same name. “They live this stressful life, and they never give up.”
Tenacity, family unity and a fierce work ethic are lessons Bouris grew up with. “My dad worked ridiculously long hours in a factory but he had all these little odd jobs after work,” says the father of four, who still visits his parents most Sundays. “I grew up in that small-business environment. I have great memories of it.”
For more on The Mentor’s Mark Bouris, and the lessons he learnt growing up, pick up this week’s issue of WHO, on sale now.