Eight People Who Have Become Billionaires

Author // Amyjoan Ojo Categories // Business Development

Eight People Who Have Become Billionaires

Most of the richest individuals on the planet all seem to have one thing in common and that is, they’re their own boss! Forbes recent release of the 21 richest people in the world also happens to be made up of 10 entrepreneurs, it’s no wonder the new generation is so business focused. Our Building Better Opportunities – Enterprising People programme encourages entrepreneurship through the provision of a variety of support aimed at helping you to achieve your dream of working for yourself. Find out more about the Enterprising People programme here: In the meantime, to keep you inspired, we’ve put together a list of 8 people who started out small and through a combination of passion, handwork and consistency are now Billionaires.

1. Sir Richard Branson
Virgin Group Born in Surrey, England, from a young age Richard Branson knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur. He dropped out of school at 16 years old which led him to kick start his very first business venture, a magazine called Student. In 1970 he went on to set up a mail-order record company and launched the well-known Virgin Records in 1973. Over the years, Branson continued to develop the Virgin empire and founded Virgin Atlantic in 1984. From travel to music and telecommunications, Richard Branson is the only person to have built eight billion dollar companies in eight different sectors. Today, a person who once struggled academically is now a global phenomenon with a net worth of $5 billion.

2. Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook At only 32 years of age, Mark Zuckerberg CEO of one of the most successful, leading social networks Facebook, is one of the youngest billionaires in the world. The young entrepreneur was born in New York and had an interest in computers at a tender age. He birthed the idea of Facebook whilst at university and eventually dropped out of school to focus on developing his idea full time. Today, Facebook has more 300 million active users

3. Aliko Dangote
Dangote Group Aliko Dangote is a Nigerian billionaire, the richest person in Africa and owner of the Dangote Group. He began his journey to riches by working for his uncle after which he requested a loan to setup his own business. Fortunately for Dangote, his uncle agreed to this and provided the capital needed to kick start his company which today, is a billion-dollar conglomerate. He graduated from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, where he studied business. The $12.2 billion company specializes in various sectors such as cement, flour, sugar manufacturing and operates in several countries in Africa including Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and South Africa.

4. Mike Ashley
Sports Direct Michael Ashley is an English billionaire and owner of Newcastle United football club. He is also a very successful entrepreneur and the man behind popular sports retail store Sports Direct. Ashley has made a series of huge business moves acquiring household name brands such as Kangol, Dunlop, Everlast and shares in Debenhams, Matalan, Republic, French Connection and more. His success has given him a net worth of $2.7 billion

5. Steve Jobs
Apple Steve Jobs was an American entrepreneur, business man, inventor and co-founder of multinational technology company, Apple. Born in California and given up for adoption, he attended Reed College in 1972 which he later dropped out of before deciding to travel through India. Shortly after his arrival back to the US, Jobs was introduced to Steve Wozniak who together in 1976 he founded Apple with. They developed several successful personal computers however, in 1985 Jobs was pushed out of the company after it began to go downhill with IBM leading the market. What could have been his setback became his stepping stone, he used this ‘break up’ to for another startup company called NeXT. During this time, he was able become the primary investor and CEO of Pixar, which was the first company to produce a fully computer-animated film which we know to be Toy Story. Twelve years later, Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy so in 1996 bought the company NeXT for $429 million with Jobs returning as the CEO of Apple the following year. Shortly after Jobs take over as CEO, the company took a turn for the better developing products such as the iMac, iPhone and more. Through hard work, determination and patience Steve Jobs left an estate behind worth $18 billion (2015).

6. Zhou Qunfei
Zhou Qunfei is a Chinese entrepreneur and self-made billionaire. She is the founder of Lens Technology, a company that produces touchscreen glass covers for mobile phones and tablets. Zhou grew up poor and was the youngest of three children. She dropped out of secondary school at 16 years old and went to work in a family owned business that produced watch parts. After the company folded, Zhou took the advice of a relative and set up her own business in a three-bedroom apartment. The team consisted of her brother, sister, their spouses and her two cousins. The company specialized in watch screens and gained popularity after receiving a contract with TCL Corporation in 2001. Shortly afterwards other phone tech companies began making requests to work with the Lens Technology. From Motorola to Nokia and Samsung to Apple. With huge successful tech companies being her customer base, it’s no surprise her net worth has reached a staggering $8.2 billion

7. James Dyson
Dyson Vacuums James Dyson, another British inventor is the founder of Dyson, a company which specializes in the design and manufacturing of vacuum cleaners and more. The idea to develop a vacuum using cyclonic separation that won’t lose suction when dirt was picked up came in the 1970’s after the frustrations he faced with his Hoover. Like many new entrepreneurs, Dyson came across some challenges along the way with no manufacturer or distributor having any interest in his design. After much perseverance, he established his own manufacturing company in England. His vacuum saw much success and he now has a net worth $4.2 billion. He has changed the world of cleaning and his story screams determination and hard work. Regardless of how many times one is rejected, you should keep going and believe in your vision.

8. Folorunsho Alakija
In her twenties, Folorunsho Alakija started out as a secretary in a Nigerian bank but headed over to England to start a fashion design course. Upon her return back to Nigeria, she decided to set up a fashion label called Supreme Stitches and built strong connections with many influential high class women, one of which was the then president of Nigeria Ibrahim Babangida’s wife, Maryam Babaginda. It was through Maryam that Folorunsho transitioned from the fashion sector to the oil industry. She is now one of the richest women in Africa and is worth $2.1 billion (2015).

At TCHC, we’re all for supporting aspiring entrepreneurs and startup business owners through assistance with anything from sales, marketing and developing your business plan to finances and cash flow. If you’re 18 years old or above, unemployed, economically inactive, or facing disadvantages then our Enterprising People programme is for you. We work with a wide spread of expertise who are passionate about taking businesses to the next level, learn more about our partners here: If you’ve ever dreamt of starting your own business or are in the process of getting your startup company up and running but just don’t know how, get in contact with us today

Enterprising People is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.

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