You do not always have to come from a privileged background to make it big. That is the beauty of capitalism. Some of the greatest men and women in the history of business started with so very little. These captains of industry had vision, passion and a determination to be successful. In many cases, they overcame a number of challenges until they found the road to success. Let's take a look at six successful entrepreneurs who built empires with a meager amount of money. (Many people want to start a business, but not everyone has what it takes to succeed. Check out Are You An Entrepreneur?)
TUTORIAL: Starting A Small Business Tutorial

Henry Ford
Henry Ford did not let his lack of financial resources stand in the way of his lifelong dream. He was a man with great ideas, but had very little financial backing of his own. So, he started Ford Motor Company with just $28,000 - and that was not even Ford's savings. It was money that he had borrowed from a variety of different investors. Ford made good use of the funds. He applied his talents to Ford Motor Company and became the first person to ever mass produce automobiles. Today, Ford Motor Company is a $56 billion dollar company with over $128 billion dollars in annual revenue.

John Paul DeJoria
John Paul DeJoria rose from the most humble of beginnings to become one of the richest men in the world. He worked as a newspaper courier at the very young age of nine, and took jobs as a janitor and a tow truck driver just to make ends meet. DeJoria's made the smart decision to go into business Paul Mitchell while he was working for a hair care company. The pair took out a meager $700 loan, and turned it into a hair care conglomerate with nearly $1 billion dollars in annual sales. DeJoria now also owns Patron Tequila, which sells more than 2 million cases a year. He has risen from the depths of homelessness to amass a net worth of $4 billion dollars.

Steve Jobs
The inventor of the iPhone, iPod and iPad started the largest technology company in the world in his parents' garage. Steve Jobs started Apple Computers in 1976 with his partner, Steve Wolzniak. The two men did not have a bunch of venture capital like startups do today. Jobs did, however, have a vision and innovative ideas that helped to thrust Apple into the forefront of the computer industry. Jobs has been the brains behind Apple for years and the company suffered during his departure in the late '90s. The return of Jobs has led to the resurgence of Apple, and today the company has a market cap of $320 billion dollars.

Sam Walton
Walmart may be a household name today, but it was not when Sam Walton opened his first store back in 1962. Walton got his first start in retail opening up his first general variety store in 1945, which he opened with just $25,000. Only $5,000 of the money was Walton's; he borrowed $20,000 from his father in law. This turned out to be a great investment for his father in law, as Walton was an instant success at retailing. His knack for retail sales and low cost strategy made his stores a hit with consumers everywhere. Walmart developed into one of the most popular retailers in the United States under Walton's helm, and Walton even held the title of the richest man in the United States at one point in time.

Kevin Plank
The CEO of Under Armour was flat broke when the orders started rolling in for his moisture-holding athletic shirts. Plank started his entrepreneurial endeavor with just $20,000 in cash and another $40,000 in credit card debt. to launch his fitness apparel company. Plank was so broke that he was scoring meals at his mom's house to eat. With hard work and determination, he managed to carve out a niche of the athletic apparel market for Under Armour. Kevin Plank now has a net worth just shy of $500 million dollars.

TUTORIAL: Intro To Insurance

Bill Hewlett & Dave Packard
Hewlett-Packard was the startup of all startups. The two cofounders, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started the industrial giant with a total of $538 in assets. The $538 total investment included cash and a used drill press. The two partners were unaware that the development of an audio oscillator in a tiny garage would be the beginning of a multi billion dollar personal computing company. Hewlett Packard has a market cap of $88 billion dollars and generated $126 billion dollars in sales last year alone. That's quite a remarkable return on investment! (These 10 entrepreneurs' names will live on long into the future - perhaps even after their enterprises are gone. See The 10 Greatest Entrepreneurs.)

The Bottom Line
The success stories of these entrepreneurs serves as an inspiration to anyone who dares to endeavor into fortune-building, with a small amount of startup capital.

Related Articles
  1. Entrepreneurship

    4 Things to Know About Your Company To Make a Successful Pitch to Investors

    Learn how to make a successful pitch to investors. Regardless of your industry, size or market, there are some questions all investors need to have answered.
  2. Entrepreneurship

    Top 4 Billionaires Living in Los Angeles

    Learn how these multibillionaires built their fortunes to stand out from the crowd of the countless ultra-rich who call Los Angeles home.
  3. Entrepreneurship

    Creating a Risk Management Plan for Your Small Business

    Learn how a complete risk management plan can minimize or eliminate your financial exposure through insurance and prevention solutions.
  4. Economics

    Virtual Joint Venture: A New Model For US Businesses to Enter China?

    Learn about virtual joint ventures and how these agreements may promote the entrance of American companies into China's vast markets.
  5. Investing Basics

    3 Business Tips from Restaurant Reality Shows

    The reality TV shows "Restaurant Impossible" and "Kitchen Disasters" offer lessons not just for restaurateurs, but for all business owners.
  6. Entrepreneurship

    7 HR Basics for Small Businesses

    Whether or not you are a fan of human resources, every employer needs to know the answers to these questions.
  7. Entrepreneurship

    Identifying And Managing Business Risks

    There are a lot of risks associated with running a business, but there are an equal number of ways to prepare for and manage them.
  8. Taxes

    Revisiting the Internet Sales Tax Bill: 2013 Vs. 2015

    Learn about the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2015 being reviewed by congress and the differences between it and the 2013 Marketplace Fairness Act.
  9. Markets

    The Biggest Private Equity Firms In India

    Learn about the leading private equity firms operating in India and which companies and industries are attracting foreign investment dollars.
  10. Entrepreneurship

    4 Most Successful Indiegogo Campaigns

    Learn about some of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns on Indiegogo, which raised millions of dollars for everything from electric bikes to beehives.
  1. Do working capital funds expire?

    While working capital funds do not expire, the working capital figure does change over time. This is because it is calculated ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How does escheatment impact a company?

    In recent years, state governments have become increasingly aggressive in enforcing escheatment laws. As a result, many businesses ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Do hedge funds invest in private companies?

    Hedge funds normally do not invest in private companies because of liquidity concerns. Capital funding for private companies ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How much working capital does a small business need?

    The amount of working capital a small business needs to run smoothly depends largely on the type of business, its operating ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What does low working capital say about a company's financial prospects?

    When a company has low working capital, it can mean one of two things. In most cases, low working capital means the business ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Who do hedge funds lend money to?

    Many traditional lenders and banks are failing to provide loans. In their absence, hedge funds have begun to fill the gap. ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center