10 Billionaires Who Overcame Poverty

Top 10 Billionaires who overcame poverty.

Poverty engulfs a significant percentage of the world’s population. But hopefully, for some, this state of things is not a fatality. As a matter of facts, thanks to the explosion of opportunities out there, it is almost possible for many people to make a decent living, even further make their name hit the Forbes list of the wealthiest people on earth. Here is a list of the top 10 people who were poor before reaching a minimum wealth of 1 Billion USD.

Number 10, John Paul Dejoria (2.8 Billion USD).

John Paul Dejoria 1

John Paul Dejoria


Born on April 13, 1944; John Paul Jones Dejoria used to sell Christmas cards and newspaper in order to support his family right at the age of 8. He was sent to a foster home later on and even joined a gang, then the military. In 1980, he founded John Paul Mitchell Systems with a loan of $700. Profits generated from his new venture allowed him to have an incredible portfolio of investments, contributing to his 2.8 billion USD net worth.


Number 9, Howard Schultz (3 Billion USD).

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Howard Schultz, chief executive officer of Starbucks Corp.

Born in July 19th, 1953; Howard Schultz was raised in a poor Jewish family of Brooklyn along with his siblings. Excelling at school, especially in sport, he managed to get a bursary after graduating from high school in 1971, to further his studies at the northern Michigan University. After graduating in 1975, he worked as a salesman and decided to move to Seattle, having an interest in the Starbucks Company he will soon own, which was very small at that time. After working for them, He moved later on his own to create a startup company which he then merged with Starbucks, when he purchased it from the initial owners in 1986, thus being able to expand his operations further, becoming the modern coffee company that makes him worth 3 billion USD today.

Number 8, Oprah Winfrey (3 Billion USD).

oprahwinfrey 2

Oprah Winfrey – Host of the Oprah Winfrey Show

Oprah Gail Winfrey is a source of inspiration for many people across the globe. Born on January 29th, 1954, Oprah had to overcome a tough childhood, characterized by poverty and struggles. Her life took another turn when she was sent by her mother to live with her Father Vernon Winfrey, who made a point of being strict with her regarding her education and studies. After graduating from university, she went on to have a successful career in the media industry, leading to the famous Oprah Winfrey show, which has greatly contributed to her 3 billion USD net worth.

Number 7, Do Wan Chang (5.5 Billion USD).


Do Wong Chan – Owner of Forever 21

If you ever shopped at a forever 21 store, here is the man whose fortune you are fuelling. Do Wan Chang was born on March 20th 1954. He moved to America with his wife in 1981 and had to work 3 simultaneous jobs in order to pay the bills. Having managed to save up enough, he opened his first ever forever 21 store in 1984. With an astonishing success in sales, he opened several other stores across the country and then the world. His investments over time paid off, allowing him to score a 5.5 billion USD present net worth.

Number 6, Ralph Lauren (7 Billion USD) 2015 Forbes List #193.

Ralph Lauren 2

Ralph Lauren – Owner of Polo Ralph Lauren

Born on October 14th 1939, Ralph Lauren came from a modest family. Graduating from high school in 1957, He was known to sell ties to his high school classmates. He grew up being a big fan of John Francis Kennedy, having the ambition to be a millionaire from his youth. He joined the army in 1962, after dropping out of college. Working as a salesman for a short time, he decided to sell ties on his own, making promising revenues. After selling half a million dollars’ worth of ties, he created his Ralph Lauren Polo brand, which has made him the billionaire worth 7 Billion USD we know today, hitting the 193rd place of the 2015 Forbes list.

Number 5, Aliko Dangote (14.7 Billion USD) 2015 Forbes List #67.

Aliko 1

Aliko Dangote, CEO of Dangote Group, Africa’s Richest Man.

Aliko Dangote, born on the 10th of April 1957; is originally from Nigeria. He was born in a modest family and showed his interests for business as early as primary school, selling sweets he previously purchased. His success story starts when his grandfather lends him money to do business. He then bought a truck that he rented to people who wanted to transport cement. With his transport business revenues, he grew his business to become the huge African Cement Empire known as Dangote Cement, own by his holding, the Dangote Group. Hitting the 67th place on the 2015 Forbes List, his net worth is estimated at 14.7 Billion USD.

Number 4, François Pinault (14.9 Billion USD)

2015 Forbes List #65.


F. Pinault – Owner of Kering, Formerly Pinault Printemps Redoute.

François Pinault was born on the 21st of august 1936, French citizen, he did not have a very joyful childhood. It is even said that he had to drop out of high school because he could not bear his classmates teasing him heavily for his poor condition. He Battled his way out in the business world, emerging among the wealthiest via his family holdings; the Pinault Printemps Redoute, now known as Kering, owning brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, just to name a few, thus totalizing a net worth of 14.9 Billion USD, hitting the 65th place of the 2015 Forbes list.

Number 3, Leonardo Del Vecchio (20.4 Billion USD)

2015 Forbes List #40.


Leonardo Del Vecchio – Owner of Luxoticca

Born on the 22nd of May 1935, Leonardo Del Vecchio had a complicated childhood. His father died few months before his birth, leaving his mother with a family of five children. Not being able to support him financially, she gave him to an orphanage. Growing as a skillful molder, he went on his own to open a business when he was only 23. His business, Luxotica, quickly grew into a multinational company, with a portfolio of investments comprising Ray Ban glasses, Sunglass hut and many others. Standing at the 40th spot on the 2015 Forbes list, he is worth 20.4 billion USD.


Number 2, Georges Soros (24.2 Billion USD)

2015 Forbes List #29.

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Georges Soros – Accomplished and Successful Trader.

Born in Hungary on the 30th of August 1930, Georges Soros was just a teenager when he arrived in London, leaving a Hungary who suffered greatly from German occupation. He was able to attend the London School of Economics, working in the same time as a waiter and a railway porter. He managed to be a successful trader who is known to be “the man who broke the bank of England”, thanks to his astonishing 1 billion USD trade profit made on the black Wednesday in 1992. Such achievement opened the way to a successful career, making him very wealthy over time. His net worth is estimated at 24.2 Billion USD, reaching the 29th position of the 2015 Forbes list.

Number 1, Li Ka Shing (33.3 Billion USD)

2015 Forbes List #17.

Li Ka Shing

Asia’s Richest Man – Li Ka Shing

Li Ka Shing was born in China on the 29th of July 1928. Due to his father’s death, he was compelled to drop out of school and work in a plastic factory, working a crazy shift of 16 hours a day. With the money he saved he managed to open his own business. Selling plastic, his company developed into becoming a successful real estate business registered at the Hong Kong stock exchange as early as 1972. His net worth reaches 33.3 Billion USD, ranking at the 17th place of the 2015 Forbes list.

When facing financial adversity, one must remain strong and remember those who made it through harsh conditions. With even more opportunities, especially on the web business, people with great ideas can make it happen regardless of their social background, it is just a matter of daring to venture into the unknown.

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