We all have heard the amazing success stories of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jack Ma and many more, the list is long and the stories are inspirational, but there are many entrepreneurs who are less well known in the world, that have also had some incredible stories and amazing journeys of their own.
For some of these entrepreneurs their work, visions and achievements are inspirational but are not always in the spotlight. In this feature I will be uncovering 10 Millionaire Entrepreneurs You Might Not Have Heard Of or whose beginnings are lesser known.
1. He Xiangjian (China)
The first on the list is He Xiangjian from China, he is the founder of Midea Group. Midea is the largest appliance manufacturer in China. Mr. He founded his company in 1981. He is one of the wealthiest people in China with a net worth of 7.6 billion dollars. He was ranked #9 the on the Forbes China rich list in 2014. To date the company have total assets of around 60.9 billion Yuan.
How he did it: A factory worker, farmer and now a company owner and founder who is worth billions, in the early days He went through many hardships and struggles to eventually shape his business venture. In 1968, he started out his business from manufacturing of plastic bottles. In 1980 he launched a new product, an electric fan called ‘Pearl’ which came into the market and his business moved into appliances. By 1981 He, acquired a name for his company and Midea was formed.
2. Peter Lim (Singapore)
Peter Lim is the owner of Valencia Football Club in Spain: Known as the ‘Remisier King’ a term in Singapore for a stock broker. Lim, like most entrepreneurs listed here, is a self made man and maintains a publicity shy and reclusive image. This well educated man from Singapore is an investor and owner of the football club Valencia, his net worth is 2.5 billion dollars.
How he did it: During his college life he worked as a cab driver, cook and waiter, he completed his education at the University of Western Australia and returned to his homeland with a degree in accountancy. There he began his career as a stock broker and was successful for building his business with Indonesian clients. In 1996 he became an high level investor putting $10 million into Wilmar International, one of Asia’s leading agribusinesses, which now valued $700 million.
3. Micky Arison (USA)
Owner of Carnival corporation, Arison dropped out from the University of Miami, and is the owner of one of the the world’s largest cruise operator companies. His recent net worth is valued 6.9 billion dollars. He is also the owner of the famous NBA team, Miami Heat.
How he did it: His father founded the business in 1971, Arison joined in 1979, the company performed adequately until 1990, in that year Micky Arison became the CEO of company, replaced his father and in the later years of his leadership the corporation out shined all other competitors in the business. His acquisition policy of buying other cruise owner companies worked well and as a result Carnival corporation is now the world’s largest cruise operator.
4. Dhirubhai Ambani (India)
Founder of Reliance Industries: He died in 2002. However in his time, this Indian entrepreneur formed one of the largest companies in the world. He is one of the greatest business icons in India. The net assets of his company is testament to his legacy, worth over 60 billion dollars. After his death the company was bifurcated between his two sons.
How he did it: He worked as a labourer in Yemen and returned to India with his savings in 1958. During 1966 he formed his textile company ‘Vimal’, which became popular very early on, the brand is now part of reliance industries and the company’s primary earnings come from the energy sector.
5. Wang Wenyin (China)
Wang is the owner of Amer International: Another Chinese entrepreneur, Wang Wenyin makes the list, his group Amer international is one of the largest copper and cable supplier’s in China and its business is expanding daily. His net worth is estimated to be around 10.5 billion dollars.
How he did it: Once a poor man, now called “the copper prince.” He worked in warehouses for a living and then started his own power cord business, which later shaped into Amer international. His company recently gained 38 billion dollars in sales. Wangs success mantra is “avoid mistakes as time never repeat’s itself.”
6. Laurence Graff (UK)
Owner of Graff Diamonds: He is the founder of Graff Diamonds which is ranked as the largest of England’s jewellery merchants. This UK based entrepreneur has a net worth of 4.8 billion dollars.
How he did it: As a high school dropout, leaving school at the young age of 15, he got his start taking a job at a small jewellery shop. There he learned all the basics of this business and started to sell his own jewellery. With lot of skills, vision and his experience he established Graff Diamonds, undercutting his competitors and sourcing good quality low price pieces for his collections.
7. Gina Rinehart (Australia)
Owner of Hancock Prospecting Group: unless your Australian, into finance, commodities, metals or mining you might not know that she is the wealthiest person in Australia. She is a chairman of Hancock Prospecting group, this group works in mining sector. Gina’s personal recent net worth is placed at around 17 billion dollars.
How she did it: She is the only daughter of Lang Hancock, founder of Hancock group, the mining giant of Australia, who died in 1991 and Gina fought a legal case of company ownership with her step mother, which took 14 years and which she finally won. Taking control of the business she became the chairman of company, under her leadership Hancock group is performing very well.
8. Mesatoshi Ito (Japan)
Ito is the owner of 7-11 Retail: He is the king of the retail business sector in Japan, the company have over 10,000 stores across Japan and 5,000+ stores in United States and still continue to expand. Ito now in his 90’s is a self made business owner, without anyone’s help he set up everything on his own. His current net worth over 3.4 billion dollars. His company annual revenue is around 28 billion dollars.
How he did it: Mr. Ito, started out with an small apparel shop in Tokyo called 7-11 and kept expanding his outlets which eventually grew into a huge retail company with over 125,000 employees.
Success Mantra: Organize your business in such a way that it work’s autonomously.
9. Lino Saputo (Canada)
Saputo is the owner of Saputo inc: Saputo is a Canadian entrepreneur and founder of Canada’s biggest cheese manufacturing company. His net worth is around 5 billion dollars.
How he did it: In his early career he was a salesman, his family had a medium size cheese making business. Saputo as a salesman delivered it, promoted it, and went door to door, home to home. With his own hard and smart work he specialised in mozzarella cheese, taking the company to another level and from a SME family business into Saputo inc.
10. Robert Kuok (Malaysia)
Kuok is the owner of SHANGRI- LA HOTELS and resorts: It is said that he is the shrewdest and smartest of all the entrepreneurs in Malaysia. Certainly one of the wealthiest men in Malaysia, of Chinese origin and has a net worth of 11.5 billion dollars.
How he did it: He once disclosed in an interview that in the beginning of his career, he worked as an office boy. Then he worked as a clerk in the rice department of the Japanese company Mitsubishi subsidiary in Singapore. There he garnered some money and used all of it to commence a sugar mill. His sugar business was a success, in 1971 he entered into the hotel business and built his first SHANGRI-LA Hotel in Singapore.
So hopefully you can take some inspiration from these 10 millionaire entrepreneurs you might not have heard of before.