16 Drop-Out Billionaire Entrepreneurs Every Business Owner Should Know

Have you been told that you cannot become someone in life?   Do you feel sad or dejected because you don’t have a college degree?   Or are you in the group that thinks education is the yardstick for success? If any of the above describes you, read on…

Education isn’t the yardstick for success, but hard work and determination is.   How does it sound that some of the world’s influential men and women today never saw the four walls of a school?

16 Drop-Out Billionaire Entrepreneurs

In this article, I’ll be sharing briefly, some of the world’s richest billionaires who never saw the four walls of school. These men and women weren’t held back by the lack of a college degree; they faced and surmounted challenges, and passed the entrepreneurial test.

Without mincing words, here’s a brief compilation of some of the world’s drop-out billionaires.

1.   Steve Jobs: billionaire founder of Apple Inc. and Pixar; dropped out of Reed College to start Apple.   Born in San Francisco California   on February 24, 1955 and started Apple Inc. with Steve Wozniak in 1976. He died in 2011.

“It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing” Steve Jobs

2.   Li Ka Shing: billionaire founder of Hutchinson Whampoa; one of the largest conglomerates in Hong Kong with over 250,000 employees presently.   Dropped out of school at age 15 and started selling watches.

He’s the 11th man on Forbes list with an estimated wealth of $21.3 billion. He’s also a co-owner of Cheung Kong holdings, one of the world’s largest container terminals.

The first year, I didn’t have much capital so I did everything myself. I had to keep my overhead low by learning everything about running a business, from accounting to fixing the gears of my equipment. I really started from scratch.” –   Li Ka Shing

3.   Aliko Dangote: billionaire founder of Dangote group; one of the largest conglomerates in Africa with over 50,000 employees. He’s currently worth $16.1 billion dollars.

” You don’t have to be big to do big things.”   – Aliko Dangote

4.   Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson: billionaire founder and CEO of Virgin group of companies. Dropped out of high school at age 16. Today he has over 200 companies with over 100,000 employees.

5.   Ralph Lauren: We all know Lauren, the billionaire fashion mogul. Lauren studied for two years at Baruch College and dropped out.

6.   Cornelius Vanderbilt: you’ll love this man’s story.   Billionaire boat builder and operator dropped out of college at age 16 and began operating his own boat. Today, he’s one of the world’s richest men in history.

 “If I had learned education, I would not have had time to learn anything else.” – Cornelius Vanderbilt

7.   Howard Hughes: founder of Hughes aircraft and Co, dropped out of Rice University and California institute of technology and went on to become an aircraft billionaire.

“I intend to be, the richest man in the world.” – Howard Hughes

8.   Mark Zuckerberg:  the youngest billionaire in history. Dropped out of Harvard to promote his social media network; Facebook. As of 2010, Mark was worth over $4 billion.

9.   Ted Turner: most of you are familiar with his name. The founder of CNN; dropped out of college to become a media billionaire.

“All my life, people have said that I wasn’t going to make it.”

“Over a three year period, I gave away half of what I had. To be honest, my hands shook as I signed it away. I knew I was taking myself out of the race to be the richest man in the world.” – Ted Turner

10.   Madame C. J. Walker: born into a family of ex-slaves, Walker started a cosmetic business and went on to become one of America’s self–made millionaires!

“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity! But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.”   – Madame C. J. Walker

11.   Simon Cowell:   The American Idol billionaire dropped out of college at age 16 to start his own record label, Fanfare.

”Good is not enough; you’ve got to be great.” – Simon Cowell

12.   Henry Ford: born into abject poverty. Henry never saw the four walls of school but went on to build Ford Motor Company and became one of the world’s richest men in history.

“Thinking is the hardest work to do, that’s why so few people are engaged in it.” – Henry Ford

13.   Walt Disney: the world’s most influential and famous animator dropped out of high school to build Disney animations. Disney now boasts of at least, $30 billion in annual revenue.

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

14.   Lawrence J. Ellison: was told by his adopted father that he’d never amount to anything. Today, he’s the founder of the world’s second largest software company, ORACLE.

 “I have had all the disadvantages required for success.”   – Lawrence J. Ellison

15.   Thomas Edison: the world’s greatest inventor and the founder of General electric.   Thomas was labeled by his College teachers as a dummy but went on to become one of the world’s greatest inventors. If it wasn’t for Thomas, we wouldn’t have electricity today.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”   –  Thomas Edison

16.   Michael Dell: Dropped out of college at age 19 and started Dell computers with just $1,000. Today, Michael is the world’s richest PC manufacturer and he has a team of 100,000 IT professionals.

If these billionaires could drop out of school and still achieve so much, what about you?   How big is your dream?   How far can you see?

“˜’The extent of your vision, is the boundary of your wealth.” – Daniel Adetunji

About The Guest Author: Daniel Adetunji is a creative blogger and freelance writer who offers guest blog service to business owners and startups on his website, Infowland. He also specializes in helping online business owners drive traffic and generate leads with written words.

Gold Coins Inside Shirt Photo via Shutterstock


2 Comments 16 Drop-Out Billionaire Entrepreneurs Every Business Owner Should Know

  1. Shilpi Roy

    Before you speak, listen. Before you write, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you invest, investigate. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try. Before you retire, save. Before you die, give.- William A. Ward. Great share. Education is an additional benefit but hard work and determination are the main source of success.

  2. Harry Worthing

    It’s important to realise that the reason these people succeeded is because of their immense talent and drive. Not everyone can drop out and do so well! You have to be prepared to put in the work that they did.


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