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Mark Bouris talks The Mentor, how he started his company and working with Donald Trump

Australia's best businessman takes us back to where it all started.

By Thomas Mitchell
Long before he was doing deals with Donald Trump or working alongside Kerry Packer, Mark Bouris was simply a boy from Sydney's western suburbs, wondering what his life might look like.
"I grew up in Punchbowl and I went to school in Bankstown," Mark tells TV WEEK. "I wasn't sure what my path would be."
That schoolboy would go on to create one of Australia's biggest companies, Wizard Home Loans.
"My schooling was good, but my biggest influence was my parents," Mark, 61, reveals. "They knew what it meant to work hard."
In 2008, Mark received the "Banker of the Decade" awards by the Australian Banking and Finance Magazine.
Now Mark is taking the opportunity to give back, returning to TV screens in Channel Seven series The Mentor.
"We visit these business owners, figure out what they need to do, what they need to hear and how we can help," he says.
"I really saw myself in these people; it resonated with me. I ended up making friends on this show, which I didn't expect."

On The Mentor, Mark is there to lend a hand. But he's quick to admit he couldn't help but become emotionally invested.
"In every episode there was a family involved, and that really got to me," the father-of-four says.
"Plus, a lot of these small business owners had experienced some sort of big loss over the last decade – losing a child, or a financial loss – which made it much more important. I felt a greater responsibility to make it work."
The Mentor follows real Aussie businesses seeking real results.
The Mentor's hands-on approach is a far cry from Mark's days on reality series The Apprentice Australia.
"The Apprentice was more of a performance," Mark laughs. "It was over-the-top, whereas The Mentor is me out on the street, talking to people and getting to know their business from the ground up."
When talk turns to Mark's five-year stint on The Apprentice Australia and The Celebrity Apprentice Australia, it's impossible not to mention Donald Trump. And when The Apprentice came to our shores, Donald flew in to meet his Aussie counterpart.
"It's bizarre to connect the man I knew with the [US] President," Mark says.
"But it doesn't surprise me. I've never met a more focused person. His attention to detail around the 'Trump brand' is crazy."

While the political path is one Mark has also considered, his priority is to help people help themselves.
"We, as a country, need to be more attentive to our small business sector," Mark says. "They employ 60 per cent of Australians.
"So I hope viewers can learn about the businesses they see every day – the local bakery, the hairdresser. The more they know, the better off we'll all be."

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