19 billionaires who used to be dirt poor

Born into poverty, Oprah Winfrey became the first African American TV correspondent in Nashville. Photo: Don ArnoldNot every billionaire was born with a silver spoon in their mouth.
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In fact, many came from nothing at all.

The “rags-to-riches” trope may be a cliché, but it’s one that’s definitely grounded in reality. Through extraordinary grit and perseverance, individuals across the globe have beaten the odds and achieved their own rags-to-riches stories.

Here are 19 people who started off life poor and went on to become billionaires. 1. Howard Schultz

Starbucks’ Howard Schultz grew up in a housing complex for the poor.

Net worth: $US2.9 billion ($3.8 billion)

In an interview with the Mirror, Schultz says: “Growing up I always felt like I was living on the other side of the tracks.

“I knew the people on the other side had more resources, more money, happier families. And for some reason, I don’t know why or how, I wanted to climb over that fence and achieve something beyond what people were saying was possible.

“I may have a suit and tie on now, but I know where I’m from and I know what it’s like.”

Schultz ended up winning a football scholarship to the University of Northern Michigan and went to work for Xerox after graduation. Shortly after, he took over a coffee shop called Starbucks, which at the time had only 60 shops.

Schultz became the company’s CEO in 1987 and grew the coffee chain to more than 16,000 outlets worldwide. 2. Oprah Winfrey

Born into poverty, Oprah Winfrey became the first African American TV correspondent in Nashville.

Net worth: $US2.9 billion

Winfrey was born into a poor family in Mississippi, but this didn’t stop her from winning a scholarship to Tennessee State University and becoming the first African American TV correspondent in the state at the age of 19.

In 1983, Winfrey moved to Chicago to work for an AM talk show which would later be called The Oprah Winfrey Show. 3. Mohed Altrad 

Montpellier rugby club president and Entrepreneur of the Year Mohed Altrad survived on one meal a day when he moved to France.

Net worth: $US1.03 billion

Born into a nomadic tribe in the Syrian dessert to a poor mother who was raped by his father and died when he was young, Altrad was raised by his grandmother. She banned him from attending school in Raqqa, the city that is now the capital of ISIS.

Altrad attended school anyway. When he moved to France to attend university he knew no French and lived off of one meal a day.

Still, he earned a PhD in computer science, worked for some leading French companies and eventually bought a failing scaffolding company, which he transformed into one of the world’s leading manufacturers of scaffolding and cement mixers, Altrad Group.

He has previously been named French Entrepreneur of the Year and World Entrepreneur of the Year. 4. Kenny Troutt

Kenny Troutt, the founder of Excel Communications, paid his way through college by selling life insurance.

Net worth: $US1.41 billion

Troutt grew up with a bartender dad and paid for his own tuition at Southern Illinois University by selling life insurance.

He made most of his money from phone company Excel Communications, which he founded in 1988 and took public in 1996. Two years later, Troutt merged his company with Teleglobe in a $US3.5 billion deal.

He’s now retired and invests heavily in racehorses. 5. Roman Abramovich

Russian business tycoon and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich was born into poverty and orphaned at age two.

Net worth: $US8.4 billion

Abramovich was born into poverty in southern Russia. After being orphaned at age two, he was raised by an uncle and his family in a subarctic region of northern Russia.

While a student at the Moscow Auto Transport Institute in 1987, he started a small company producing plastic toys, which helped him eventually found an oil business and make a name for himself within the oil industry.

Later, as sole leader of the Sibneft company, he completed a merger that made it the fourth biggest oil company in the world. The company was sold to state-run gas titan Gazprom in 2005 for for $US13 billion.

He acquired the Chelsea Football Club in 2003 and owns the world’s largest yacht, which cost him almost $US400 million in 2010. 6. Ken Langone

Investor Ken Langone’s parents worked as a plumber and cafeteria worker.

Net worth: $US2.8 billion

To help pay for Langone’s school at Bucknell University, he worked odd jobs and his parents mortgaged their home.

In 1968, Langone worked with Ross Perot to take Electronic Data Systems public. (It was later acquired by HP.) Just two years later, he partnered with Bernard Marcus to start Home Depot, which also went public in 1981. 7. John Paul DeJoria

John Paul DeJoria, the man behind a hair-care empire and Patron Tequila, once lived in a foster home and his car.

Net worth: $US3.1 billion

Before the age of 10, DeJoria, a first generation American, sold Christmas cards and newspapers to help support his family. He was eventually sent to live in a foster home and even spent some time in a gang before joining the military.

With a $US700 loan, DeJoria created John Paul Mitchell Systems and sold the shampoo door-to-door while living in his car. He later started Patron Tequila and now invests in other industries. 8. Shahid Khan

At one time, businessman Shahid Khan washed dishes for $US1.20 an hour.

Net worth: $US6.7 billion

He’s now one of the richest people in the world, but when Khan came to the US from Pakistan, he worked as a dishwasher while attending the University of Illinois.

Khan now owns Flex-N-Gate, one of the largest private companies in the US, the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, and Premier League soccer club Fulham. 9. Do Won Chang

Forever 21 founder Do Won Chang worked as a janitor, gas station attendant, and in a coffee shop when he first moved to America.

Net worth: $US2.8 billion

The husband-and-wife team — Do Won Chang and Jin Sook — behind Forever 21 didn’t always have it so easy. After moving to America from Korea in 1981, Do Won had to work three jobs at the same time to make ends meet. They opened their first clothing store in 1984.

Forever 21 is now an international, 480-store empire that rakes in about $US3 billion in sales a year. 10. Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren was once a clerk at Brooks Brothers.

Net worth: $US5.8 billion

Lauren graduated high school in the Bronx, New York, but later dropped out of college to join the army.

It was while working as a clerk at Brooks Brothers that Lauren questioned whether men were ready for wider and brighter designs in ties. The year he decided to make his dream a reality, 1967, Lauren sold $US500,000 of ties. He started Polo the next year. 11. Lakshmi Mittal

Steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal came from modest beginnings in India.

Net worth: $US13.3 billion

A 2009 BBC article says the ArcelorMittal CEO and chairman, who was born in 1950 to a poor family in the Indian state of Rajasthan, “established the foundations of his fortune over two decades by doing much of his business in the steel industry equivalent of a discount warehouse”.

Today, Mittal runs the world’s largest steel-making company and is a multibillionaire. 12. Francois Pinault

Luxury goods mogul Francois Pinault quit high school in 1974 after being bullied for being poor.

Net worth: $US14.6 billion

Pinault is now the face of fashion conglomerate Kering (formerly PPR), but at one time, he had to quit high school because he was teased so harshly for being poor.

As a businessman, Pinault is known for his “predator” tactic, which includes buying smaller firms for a fraction of the cost when the market crashes. He eventually started PPR, which owns high-end fashion houses including Gucci, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, and Yves Saint Laurent.

Today, he owns Christie’s, the world’s top art business. 13. Leonardo Del Vecchio

Leonardo Del Vecchio grew up in an orphanage and later worked in a factory where he lost part of his finger.

Net worth: $US16.4 billion

Del Vecchio was one of five children who was eventually sent to an orphanage because his widowed mother couldn’t care for him. He would later work in a factory making moulds of car parts and eyeglass frames.

At the age of 23, Del Vecchio opened his own molding shop, which expanded to become the world’s largest maker of sunglasses and prescription eyewear with brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley. 14. George Soros

Legendary trader George Soros survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary and arrived in London as an impoverished college student.

Net worth: $US24.9 billion

In his early teens, Soros posed as the godson of an employee of the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture to stay safe from the Nazi occupation of Hungary.

In 1947, Soros escaped the country to live with his relatives in London. He put himself through the London School of Economics working as a waiter and railway porter.

After graduating, Soros worked at a souvenir shop before getting a job as a banker in New York City. In 1992, his famous bet against the British pound made him a billion dollars. 15. Li Ka-shing

After his father died, business magnate Li Ka-shing had to quit school to help support his family.

Net worth: $US31.1 billion

Ka-shing fled mainland China for Hong Kong in the 1940s, but his father died when he was 15, leaving Ka-shing responsible for supporting his family.

In 1950, he started his own company, Cheung Kong Industries, which made plastics at first, but would later expand into real estate. 16. Sheldon Adelson

College dropout Sheldon Adelson grew up sleeping on the floor of a Boston tenement house.

Net worth: $US31.2 billion

Adelson, the son of a cab driver, grew up in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and began selling newspapers at the age of 12, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

A Forbes profile of the billionaire says years later, after dropping out of the City College of New York, Adelson “built a fortune running vending machines, selling newspaper ads, helping small businesses go public, developing condos and hosting trade shows”.

Adelson lost almost all of his money in the Great Recession, but he earned much of it back in the following years. He now runs Las Vegas Sands, the largest casino company in the world, and is considered the most high-profile political donor in America, says Forbes. 17. Larry Ellison

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison dropped out of college after his adoptive mother died. He held odd jobs for eight years.

Net worth: $US48.2 billion

Born in Brooklyn, New York, to a single mother, Ellison was raised by his aunt and uncle in Chicago.

After his aunt died, Ellison dropped out of college and moved to California to work odd jobs for the next eight years. He founded software development company Oracle in 1977, which is now one of the largest technology companies in the world.

Last September he announced his plans to step down as Oracle’s CEO to become CTO and executive chairman. 18. Guy Laliberté

Guy Laliberté was a fire-eater before founding Cirque du Soleil.

Net worth: $US1.33 billion

At the beginning of his career, Laliberté had fire in his belly — literally. The Canadian-born circus busker played the accordion, walked on stilts, and ate fire.

Later on, as Business Insider previously reported, he took a chance and flew a troupe from Quebec to Los Angeles without buying a return fair. The circus troup travelled to Las Vegas and became Cirque du Soleil.

Laliberté is now the CEO of Cirque de Soleil. 19. Jan Koum

WhatsApp founder Jan Koum emigrated to WhatsApp.

Net worth: $US8.8 billion

Koum was born in Kyiv, Ukraine. At the age of 16, he accompanied his mother to California, where they secured an apartment through government assistance. To survive, he swept floors at a local store.

According to The Independent, Koum taught himself computer skills.

In 2009, he co-founded the world’s largest mobile messaging service WhatsApp, which was bought by Facebook for $US22 billion in 2014.

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Jennifer Hawkins said Donald Trump’s family “has always respected me”

Experts: Australia’s Next Top Model judges Jennifer Hawkins, Alex Perry and Megan Gale. Hawkins said she enjoyed helping contestants to believe in their own strengths.JENNIFER Hawkins is counting down to Christmas in Newcastle, after a busy year that has included celebrating her mother’s cancer recovery, her tequila company winning an international award and being caught up in a Donald Trump “media storm”.
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Hawkins hit headlines this week when a video from 2011 resurfaced, showing the Republican presidential candidate telling guests at the National Achievers Congress in Sydney that he was angry when he thought she did not want to introduce him at the event – and that he considered lying about her intellect.

Trump then leaned in for what appeared to be an attempt to kiss her on the lips.

“Thatvideo was from years ago, so I don’t know the big deal about it because it’s been out since then,” Hawkins told the Herald. “It’s been a big media storm. His family has always respected me.It doesn’t mean I believe or agree with every single action or word that he’s said, but that’s all I’m going to say.”

Hawkins said she hadn’t been following Trump’s campaign closely. “I’vehad other work things on, so I just haven’t really been thinking about it, to be honest.”

Hawkins is currently on screens as host of Foxtel’s Australia’s Next Top Model, a role she has reprised for the third time. Of this season’s 13 contestants, only six remain, including “extremely driven” Kassidy Ure of Elermore Valeand “so beautiful” Aleyna Fitzgerald, from Thornton.

“I really enjoyed chatting to the girls on and off camera, whetherI’m introducing the challenges or going to their house or seeing them on set, I always take time to give them even a little bit of advice or chat with them,” she said. “You become invested in the girls so you really want to help them in any way that you can.”

The Holmesville-raised supermodel has been juggling her roles as ambassador for Trinity Point andMyer and continuing to developher businesses Jbronze and swimwear brand Cozi. She was “elated” when her and husband Jake Wall’s tequila company Sesion wonthree medals at theSan Francisco World Spirits competition.

“My mum [Gail, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer last August] got her yearly results for her tests,” she said.“All of her results came back positive and her kidney is working well.To know we can stop worrying and relax, thatwas a massive highlight.”

Hawkins said she would return to Newcastle for family birthdays this weekend and for Christmas.

“It’s not even whether it[seeing family] is important, it’s my priority. It keeps you present and puts everything in perspective.”

Australian champion Liesl Tesch launches Paralympic mentoring program

BUSY: Sailing gold medalist Liesl Tesch with Mark Tonga from the disability council of New South Wales share a moment at the welcome home ceremony for the Australian Paralympic team in Sydney on October 4. Picture: Brook Mitchell.Fresh from major accolades in two sports and only six weeks afterwrapping up her own 24-year Paralympic career Liesl Tesch has launched a national mentor program for potential disabled athletes.
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The 47-year-old, who was raised on Lake Macquarie, received the prestigious president’s award at the Sailing Australia presentation held at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.

This follows her induction into the Basketball Australia hall of fame earlier this month.

Tesch collected five medals across seven her seven Paralympic campaigns between 1992 and 2016, including two silver and a bronze for women’s wheelchair basketball and most recently back-to-back gold in the mixed two-person sailing SKUD18 division.

OUT OF WATER: Liesl Tesch as part of the national team at the Sailing Australia awards held at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday night. Picture: Twitter.

Now, via the Paralympic Mentoring Program, she wants to share thatexperience and her contacts with others aspiring to follow a similar path.

“The program will support future para athletes, young people with disabilities and disadvantaged youth across Australia,” Tesch wrote on her online gofundme page.

“Potential para athletes will connect with experienced Aussie Paralympians during a period of three months.

“Champion Paralympians will share their tips on how to be a successful athlete, setting goals and coordinating resources, social media andmedia-savvy tips, negotiating sponsorship deals, overcoming challenges and more.

“Mentors will be goal-oriented, regionally basedand allow future champions to work with their Paralympic heroes(often with similar disabilities) to assist in positively breaking down barriers to success.”

Tesch was inducted into the Hunter sporting hall of fame earlier this year before departing for the Paralympics in Rio.

Daily World Dispatch – The truth is hidden in computers

From the presidency of the United States to the presidency of South Korea, it would seem that if you want to avoid trouble, you need to look out for computers.
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The scandal that is threatening to destroy Park Geun-hye’s presidency began with a lifelong friend, Choi Soon-sil, who seems to have become something more. South Korean media found drafts of Park’s speeches on a tablet computer belonging to Choi, who is a key figure in a shamanistic cult once led by her father.

Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin is a far less mystical figure, but her 20-year association with the Democratic presidential nominee is being sorely tested by the FBI’s discovery of emails from Clinton on the computer of Abedin’s estranged husband, former New York congressman Anthony Weiner.

Clinton will be hoping to turn the heat back onto the FBI, an organisation that has its own long history of unsavoury secrets.

But it was no surprise that when our own Nick O’Malley ran into Republican attack dog Roger Stone – an interview you can read and watch here – he felt the wind was well and truly back in the Trump campaign’s sails.

Iceland’s Pirate Party has also benefited from the leaking of documents, most recently the Panama Papers that revealed the extensive offshore entanglements of the island’s governing elites. But as in Spain and countries across Europe and the Middle East, the collapse of the political establishment has not led neatly to a takeover by the new parties of protest. Instead, uncertainty reigns.

A far more conventional instability has returned to trouble Italians in the country’s struggling centre. Scientists are now warning that the recent string of seismic events could be only the beginning of a much larger sequence.

Even by the frenetic standards of international affairs, the coming fortnight will be a time for the sure-footed.

Other must-reads:

The extraordinary story of a man adopted by Americans aged 3 who now faces deportation at 41 through a legal loophole;

Europe Correspondent Nick Miller takes us on a tour of a nuclear facility in France that might just save the world.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Burning questions: Wallabies spring tour

The Wallabies share a lighter moment before the England Test in June. Photo: Scott BarbourWill Michael Cheika roll the dice with Marika Koroibete? 
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The Wallabies coach was quick to hit back at suggestions he was cheapening the jersey by including the Melbourne Storm winger in the European touring party, saying Koroibete had not received a cap yet.

Of all tours, the spring tour presents itself as the perfect platform to unleash the speedy winger who scored 12 tries from 25 games in the NRL this year.

Why not give Koroibete a go against France? Particularly given that match does not count towards Australia’s quest for the glorious grand slam against Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England.

The Wallabies are criticised by former players and sections of the media for not crossing the tryline enough, so the irony of the whole Koroibete signing is Cheika cannot please everyone when asked if he is devaluing the jersey when he has brought over a point-scoring threat.

Without putting Koroibete in the same echelon as another Storm league convert in Israel Folau, there was a great deal of optimism at luring the incumbent Wallabies fullback to the fifteen-a-side code in 2013.

Cheika’s mantra is building depth in positions, so if he sticks true to that policy, expect Koroibete to get his chance out wide at some point in November.

Can the Wallabies really complete the grand slam? 

Even if you look past the spin that improvements are made after each Test, the Wallabies are every chance of doing what no Australian team has done since 1984.

Remember, there have only been two grand slam attempts since 1984 – in 2009 and 2013.

While a lot has changed in the last 12 months, the momentum the Wallabies built at the World Cup goes to show winning consistently in the northern hemisphere is possible.

Wales have beaten the Wallabies just twice from 26 games since 1991, while Scotland have been below their best of late, losing three of their last four matches against the remaining teams Australia will play over the next five weeks.

The Wallabies’ tight-five are relatively settled and despite injuries, Australia’s backs have showed promise, particularly when they play in their proper positions.

Will Australia’s inexperience matter?

Of the 11 Wallabies players to make their Test debuts this year, 10 have been retained in the squad, bar Leroy Houston, whose late call up wouldn’t be the surprise of the century given he is already over in Bath.

The likes of Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Allan Alaalatoa and Tom Robertson have surprised many but have little experience in European conditions.

There is a notable absence of senior players, more so than in other campaigns. However, giving the odd Test – or mid-week game against the French Barbarians – to a handful of fresh-faced future prospects can only be beneficial in the year after a World Cup. 

Too green? Dane Haylett-Petty is one of many Wallabies with little experience in Europe. Photo: Warren Little

Is it time for a change in the back-row?

The Wallabies need David Pocock starting and should make the most of him before he spends 2017 hanging with animals in Africa and plying his trade in Japan.

Lopeti Timani started in the Australia’s last game, against New Zealand, because Pocock was returning from injury, meaning he is no certainly to line up at No.8 on November 5 (November 6 in Australia) at Millennium Stadium.

The bottom line is Pocock and Michael Hooper are workhorses and to be without one for half a game would make little sense. 

Workhorses: Michael Hooper and David Pocock. Photo: Stu Forster

Cheika seems hell-bent on sticking with Dean Mumm at No.6, something he has done since the South Africa Test in Brisbane.

Scott Fardy has fallen out of favour while Sean McMahon has played at blindside breakaway at Super Rugby level so is also another option there.

But that would deprive Australia of an option at the lineout, something that was no more stark than in Sydney for Bledisloe game one when they were picked off at ease by the All Blacks’ Kieran Read and Brodie Retallick.

What do the Wallabies do with Israel Folau? 

The moment Samu Kerevi went down with an ankle injury in Auckland, the calls grew louder for Folau to get a go at outside centre.

Cheika says it will happen on the tour, so the Wallabies style of play isn’t completely predictable to other teams. 

Try drought: Israel Folau is in his longest dry period in his 48-Test career. Photo: Hannah Peters

Folau generally attacks at No.13 and defends at fullback, so the number on his back, despite it being a talking point all year, matters far less.

Wherever he plays, the heat is on the 27-year-old, for he has not crossed for a try in seven matches – his biggest drought in 48 Tests.

Folau scores a try every 2.4 Tests (20 from 48) but is more prolific against France (three tries from four Tests), Scotland (one from one) and Wales (three from three).

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