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4 World-Famous Business Entrepreneurs Who Overcame the Odds

4 World-Famous Business Entrepreneurs Who Overcame the Odds main image

Do you have ambitions in business entrepreneurship? Ever feel like you’re striving against the tide? In the hyper-competitive world of entrepreneurialism, it can be easy to give up before you’ve even begun.

Whether combatting poverty, disability or personal tragedy, here are four wildly successful entrepreneurs who overcame the odds.

1. Despite disability…

Isaac Lidsky was originally a child actor, starring in commercials from the age of six months. But in his early teens he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a retinal degenerative disease that would render him blind long before 30.

Racing against time, Lidsky enrolled at Harvard aged only 15. His degree in computer science and mathematics enabled him to found a dotcom start-up, known today as [x+1]. After two years, he retrained in law, eventually taking a job in the US Justice Department. Today, Lidsky’s company ODC Construction is worth over US$70 million.

In order to accomplish the reading necessary for his work, Lidsky employed a computer program that would read text aloud to him, wound up to semi-intelligible speeds. He also founded Hope For Vision, a non-profit dedicated to funding research on blinding illnesses.

Lidsky’s phenomenal success despite disability finds a comrade in Chad Mureta, CEO of App Empire. In 2009, Mureta’s car hit a deer; the accident almost severed his right arm. Throughout his 18 months in hospital, Mureta began to research app development – a process which resulted in founding his own business, and becoming a critically successful ‘appreneur’.

2. Despite personal loss…

At just 14, Jason Pinchoff lost both his father and sister in a tragic driving accident. His mother swiftly followed, losing her battle with cancer when Pinchoff was 18.

Rather than feel sorry for himself, Jason set up the Linda B. Pinchoff Foundation, named in honor of his mother. Businesses followed, with the intention of helping to fund the non-profit. Since then, Pinchoff has worked tirelessly to fund his humanitarian efforts.

His clothes label, A Pinch Life, even runs an anti-bullying campaign. Their motto? “Swagga with a cause.”

3. Despite trauma… 

Gigi Stetler, President of Broward R.V., built her company from the ground up in a male-dominated industry. Although now she’s a successful business-owner and passionate advocate of working women, life wasn’t always so easy.

As a young woman of 23, Stetler attempted to aid a homeless man by providing him with food, clothing and shelter in her building. In return, he broke into her apartment, stabbed her 21 times and left her for dead.

Through her long, slow recovery, Stetler vowed to come back stronger than ever. “I don’t play the victim card,” she said last year to The Washington Times. “I never have because it doesn’t get you anywhere, and it only slows you down… I greet life as a warrior every single day. After that happened to me, every day above ground is a great day.”

4. Despite poverty…

Matsushita was born in 1894 into comparative wealthy household – but things went quickly to pot. His father’s business folded; impoverished, the family was forced first to move out of their house then to sell off their possessions. In the next few years, three of Matsushita’s siblings died due to lack of healthcare.

Leaving formal education at nine, Matsushita ended up working for Osaka Electric Light Company. At 22, he invented an improved light socket. But his boss had no interest in his designs. In order to build on his discovery, Matsushita was forced to leave his job and sell the new, improved sockets from his tenement basement.

Innovation, however, will out. Bit-by-bit, Matsushita’s business grew. By the time he died in 1987, he was worth a personal $3 billion, and the company far more. Matsushita received the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, the Japanese government’s second-highest honor. He is considered a global role-model, a classic rags-to-riches story.

His business, Matsushita Electric Industrial Company, is now known by a more familiar name: Panasonic.

So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or up against a challenge, here are four business entrepreneurs to remind you that there really is always a pathway to success, no matter how difficult things seem. For more inspiration, check out where the world’s top entrepreneurs studied.

Susanna Quirke writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency which specializes in sourcing candidates for internships. To see the graduate jobs London has to offer, visit their website.

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I am petter smith working at locus rags