Not all successful businessmen and women are to the manor born and in fact, many of them started in poverty and with the prospect of an uphill challenge in life. These inspirational men and women decided that they would not only survive life but thrive in it despite the difficult start and the challenges that they were faced with. If you ever think that things are too tough or impossible to success at then check out these inspirational stories below to renew your hope.

Robert Bassam

Robert Bassam, CEO of Eastern Automotive Company was born into a Miami family who were relying on welfare and food stamps to get by. Unperturbed by his difficult start, Bassam moved to Washington to work in a Mexican restaurant and began making plans for a business. After flipping two $50 cars which he bought from a Salvation Army for $300 dollars each, young Robert knew instantly where his future lay. Bassam continued buying and selling cars until he could launch his own dealership in 1991. That dealership grew and he is now the wealthy CEO of a company which brings in over $300 million in revenue each year.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah grew up in Mississippi and managed to overcome every obstacle that you can think of in order to find success. Racism, abuse, sexism and obesity worries were all something that the talk show host was faced with at a young age. Despite being dealt one of the toughest hands imaginable, Oprah pursued her career as a presenter on radio before finding fame on television and is now a billionaire who dedicates her time to philanthropy and helping others who have faced difficulties.

Jan Koum

Jan Koum is the founder of the Whatsapp messenger service, one of the World’s most important people and has a wealth of around $19 billion. Koum’s childhood however tight him the value of hard work and he had to work incredibly hard to support his disabled mother in Soviet-Ukraine. Having immigrated to the United States at 17, the young Koum set about changing his family’s fortunes and he did exactly that with the creation of the World’s most popular messenger service.


We all know him as the rapper, business mogul and husband of Beyonce, Jay-Z but before he became the wealthy and successful man that we all know, Shawn Carter was faced with difficult times. Growing up in Brooklyn’s rough Marcy projects, the young Carter fell, like so many of his peers, into the drug game as a way to get by. After one of his friends was shot as he was selling crack cocaine on the streets, Carter realized that he had to change paths. Using the profits which he had made from the drug trade, Carter and friend Damon Dash invested in their very own record company and Jay-Z was born. He is now considered one of the greatest rappers of all time and boasts a wealth of over $550 million.