10 inspiring rags to riches entrepreneur stories

The stories listed below prove that just because you are born in poverty doesn’t mean you will always remain so. Below is a list of some of the richest entrepreneurs in the world who have achieved success through their sheer determination, ambition and hard work! With a little luck too! You will be surprised by several of the household names and their ordeals before achieving success! These are truly inspirational people who prove that destiny, good fortune and fairy tales do exist with the mind set on achieving success.

(1) Ellison


Ellison was born on the Lower East Side of New York City. After he contracted pneumonia as a baby, his mother was unable to care for him, and instead sent him to live with her aunt and uncle on the South Side of Chicago. He has never even met his birth father.

1977, he co-founded a database management company called Software Development Laboratories. They changed the name to Relational Software in 1979, and in 1982, it became Oracle. Today, Oracle has annual revenues of around $38 billion, and Ellison has an estimated net worth of $46.2 billion. He’s has all  you can expect from a billionaire — planes, yachts, multiple mansions, and even an entire Hawaiian island. He stepped down from his CEO role in 2014.

(2) Do Won Chang


Do Won Chang and his wife, Jin Sook, moved to America from Korea in 1981. Upon first arrival, Do Won was forced to work three jobs at the same time to support them, as a janitor, a gas station attendant, and in a coffee shop. Eventually, they were able to open their first clothing store in 1984.

That one store grew into Forever 21, which pioneered fast fashion and is now a multi-national, 480 store empire that generates around $3 billion in sales a year. It’s a family business, with the couple’s daughters Linda and Esther helping to run the company.

“Forever 21 gives hope to people who come here with almost nothing,” Don told the LA Times.

(3)  Laliberté


The Canadian-born Laliberté began his circus career busking on the streets: playing accordion, walking on stilts, and eating fire. He tempted fate by bringing a successful troupe from Quebec to the Los Angeles Arts Festival in 1987, with no return fare. In fact, the bet paid off, and the circus group was eventually brought to Las Vegas, where they became the world-famous Cirque du Soleil we know today.

Today, Laliberté is the CEO of Cirque, a professional poker player and space tourist, with an estimated net worth of $1.98 billion.

(4 ) Li Ka-shing


The family of Li Ka-shing left mainland China and set off for Hong Kong in 1940. Furthermore,  Li’s father died of tuberculosis when he was only 15. As a result, he Quit school to work to support his family. Li made plastics and later plastic flowers for US export.

By 1950 Li was able to start his own company, Cheung Kong Industries. While at first manufacturing plastics, the company later moved into real estate. Similarly, Li expanded his ownership of different companies, and today has his hand in banking, cellular phones, satellite television, cement production, retail outlets, hotels, domestic transportation, airports, electric power, steel production, ports, and shipping, among other industries. All in all, he employs more than 270,000 people in 52 countries, according to Forbes.

(5)  J.K Rowling


In the early 1990s, J.K Rowling had just gotten divorced and was living on welfare with a dependent child. She admits to completing most of the first “Harry Potter” book in cafes, as walking around with her daughter, Jessica.

After all, the “Harry Potter” franchise has become a worldwide success, and Rowling has been on and off Forbes’ billionaire list.

(6) Oprah Winfrey


Oprah spent the first six years of her life living with her grandmother wearing dresses made out of potato sacks. After being molested by two members of her family, she ran away from home at age 13. At 14, her newborn child died shortly after he was born. Following this tragedy,She went back to live with her mother, but it wasn’t until her mother sent her to live with her father that she turned her life around.

In either case, she got a full scholarship to college, won a beauty pageant where she got discovered by a radio station And the rest is history. The Oprah name has become an empire, and according to Forbes she is worth $3.1 billion.

(7) Roman Abramovich


After his parents died when he was just four, the Russian, Abramovich was raised by his uncle and grandmother. Abramovich had his first break from an expensive wedding gift from his in-laws. Moreover, he dropped out of college to pursue his entrepreneurial interests. The first included selling plastic ducks out of an apartment in Moscow.

He managed a takeover of oil giant Sibneft at a bargain price in 1995. He continued to flip his investments into even larger acquisitions, including Russian Aluminium and steel maker Evraz Group. Now he owns the largest private yacht in the world, as well a Boeing 767 and homes in New York, London, and France. He’s also the owner of the Chelsea Football Club.

(8) Kamprad


Kamprad lived the farm life growing up. But he always had a knack for business, buying matches in bulk from Stockholm to sell to his neighbors.  He later expanded to fish, Christmas decorations, and pens.

However, unsatisfied with the small stuff, Kamprad took money from his father (a reward for good grades) and created a mail-order business that eventually became IKEA (the name comes from his initials plus those of his village and family farm). Soon, furniture became the company’s biggest seller, and Kamprad’s use of local manufacturers kept his prices low. Though he has an estimated net worth of $3.5 billion, he reportedly prefers flying economy over private.

(9) Del Vecchio


Del Vecchio being one of five children who could not be supported by his widowed mother. After growing up in an orphanage, he went to work in a factory making moulds for auto parts and eyeglass frames, where he lost part of his finger.

In spite of that, he opened his own moulding shop at 23. Furthermore, that eyeglass frame shop expanded to the world’s largest maker of sunglasses and prescription eye wear. Luxottica manufactures sunglasses from brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley, with 6,000 retail shops like Sun glass Hut and Lens Crafters. His net worth is estimated at $23.5 billion.

(10) Bakala


In 1980,  Bakala fled communist Czechoslovakia at 19 with a $50 dollar bill which was wrapped in plastic and hidden in a sandwich. Finding his way to Lake Tahoe, where he washed dishes at a Harrah’s casino.

Nevertheless, he got an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Dartmouth. He went into banking, and eventually back to his home country. Opening Credit Suisse First Boston’s first office in Prague after the Wall fell. In 1994 he founded the first investment bank in the Czech Republic. Also, he presides over a coal company as well as an iron ore company.


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