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 Achieving noteworthy success in your personal and professional lives, as well as giving back to the broader community, is no easy feat – particularly all before the age of 35. But Accountancy SA has found a number of inspiring and successful CAs (SA) in its annual 35-under-35 competition, which celebrates the achievements of young professionals. This week we’re focusing on Executive Assistant to the CEO/Corporate Finance and Commercial Executive of Value+ Nettwork, Dheren Singh, and this is his story:

At the age of 14, Dheren wanted a pair of Nikes. With South Africa facing an uncertain future, a pair of overpriced Nikes was the least of his parents’ worries, but for Dheren it represented a dream. Determined to raise the money himself, he soon noticed his parents returning soft drink glass bottles for R1 a bottle and started going from door to door in the neighbourhood. Within six months he was not only able to buy himself a pair of Nikes, he was able to buy a pair for his friend too. This led to a few other business initiatives while he was at school and sparked his love for business, eventually landing him a bursary to become a chartered accountant.

Post articles, Dheren broke into the tough world of investment banking and by the age of 30, he was a dealmaker in the Strategic Client team at Standard Chartered Bank, with a mandate to conclude high-profile investment banking transactions for their top 50 African clients.

Although he had a fairly entrenched career in investment banking, Dheren had a deep desire to get involved in an entrepreneurial technology business, so he resigned from his job to figure out how to turn this vision into a reality. During his ‘jobbatical’, he started advising technology start-ups that he came across. “I did this work for free and utilised my skills gained as a CA to add value to these businesses,” he explains. At the same time he ran a profitable consulting business, advising on the successful listing of Attacq Properties as well as consulting to another large corporate on their international expansion strategy.

More recently, Dheren has been appointed a non-executive director of four companies in the media technology innovator Value+ Nettwork Group, with a view to becoming a shareholder later on. He also joined Mensa and formed the Mensa Business Group to facilitate business networking and discussions.

He is passionate about his broader community and is involved in multiple community social initiatives, as well as exploring ways on how technology can benefit society at large. In his spare time, he focuses on keeping fit and constantly learning by reading and travelling.

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