7 homemade millionaires

Photo: By Financial Times – Sir Philip Green, Chairman, Arcadia Group (center); Chris Grigg, CEO, British Land (R), CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever wondered what it takes to make your first million and become a millionaire?

We’re a bit inundated with local news and stories in Australia, so it’s time to analyze elsewhere in the world for a different perspective.

The UK is a great business center for innovation and entrepreneurship; and we think these UK-based millionaires are doing something right.

Unlike the silver-spooned businessmen who got an easy ride investing money they were born with, these self-styled businessmen have made it to the top as a result of their own hard work and determination.

Here are seven success stories from seven of Britain’s most impressive self-made millionaires.

Phillip Green

Phillip Green (or, I should say, Sir Phillip Green) is a household name in the UK. Green’s fortune of £3.88 billion today comes from Arcadia Group, the clothing retail company that owns Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and others.

But what not many people know is that Green started with a small capital of just £20,000, which he used to import jeans from the Far East to sell to retailers in London. In more recent years, however, Green has come under fire for alleged tax avoidance and failure to ensure the health and well-being of factory workers in developing countries.

Mike Ashley

Ashley left school at just 16 years old and has pursued a lifelong love of sports; his first job was as a squash coach. This turned into well-known sports offerings giant Sports Direct, which is worth £3.75 billion today.

Starting small, Ashley initially opened a modest sports and ski shop in Maidenhead on a £10,000 bank loan. Little by little his business ventures grew – he will show what happens when your business is your passion.

John Caudwell

John Caudwell is a great example of what happens when business people quickly notice emerging trends. In 1987, Caudwell noted that cell phones were slowly becoming more commonplace.

Initially Caudwell opened a small mail order mobile phone business from the Midlands, but thanks to his company The Carphone Warehouse he now has a fortune of £1.5 billion.

Askshay Ruparelia

Ruparelia, just 19 years old, is the UK’s youngest millionaire. When he was only 17, with his friends most likely playing FIFA and chasing girls, Ruparelia made his first million.

He did it through his company doorstep.co.uk, which focused on traditional brokers and their high fees. Son of two deaf parents, one a counselor and the other a teaching assistant, Ruparelia’s wealth has been won entirely on her own.

Carl Silverstone

Today Carl Silverstone is one of London’s most successful young entrepreneurs. As a multidisciplinary entrepreneur (particularly Alpine Studios and high-end event company Aquila), he certainly started small, selling candy in the schoolyard for profit.

Although Silverstone is one of the few millionaires on this list with a formal degree in Business, he never completed his business degree from the University of East Anglia, leaving in his sophomore year to focus on the business ventures that were already thriving without formal training.

Silverstone’s success shows that sometimes life experience can be just as valuable as education.

Sam and Dan Houser

Brothers Sam and Dan Houser, creators of the controversial video game company Rock Star Games, created their first wildly successful game: Grand Theft Auto. Their childhood was spent shooting American gangster movies and westerns for free in the video store near their home and that’s how the inspiration came.

At the time of its release, Grand Theft Auto was one of the most successful video games ever made and despite controversy, it will go down in history as one of the most comprehensive and high-quality gaming experiences of all time: another example of staying true to the things you loves.

Rita Sharma

Rita Sharma comes from very humble beginnings, but it was her upbringing that inspired her to start her travel company WorldWide Travels, which is now worth £65 million.

Sharma grew up in a cramped, windowless flat near Oxford Street. She felt claustrophobic and dreamed of traveling and helping others see the world. After she dropped out of college and her husband (a former accountant) quit his job to help run the business, the business continued to grow.


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