Li Ka Shing

Li Ka Shing is one of the greatest empire builders in the world. He has over 270,000 employees in over 50 countries. He is the richest man in Asia. Li was born in Chaozhou in the Guangdong Province of China, but his family had to move to Hong Kong as a result of the Sino-Japanese.

Li’s father was a primacy school teacher in his home country and soon after his arrival in Hong Kong, he died of TB. When Li was 12 years old, he quit school and started working as an apprentice in a factory which manufactured watch straps. To support his family, he had started working full time by the time he was 14. He worked in a plastic trading company. It was not until 1950 when he started his own business. His first business included manufacture of plastic toys and other everyday items. His first company was named Cheung Kong.

Li had always been hard working and he had always remained true to his moral compass. It was because of his hard work, adaptability and integrity that he has built a business empire which includes construction, banking, plastics, real estate, hotels, airports, cellular phones, cement production, satellite television, retail outlets, domestic transportation, ports, shipping, electric power and steel production.

In 1950, he founded a plastic manufacturing company after he learnt how to operate a plant. But, he had to borrow funds from his friends and family and contacts. Later he decided to supply quality plastic flowers to the world at extremely low prices. He had learned the technique of creating artificial flowers that would resemble the real thing. He hired the best technicians and invited a foreign buyer who was so impressed with the quality of the products that he placed a large order. Few years, later Li was able to make a fortune just by selling plastic flowers and became the largest supplier in Asia.

However in 1958, he was unable to renew his company’s lease and was forced to buy a new site. It was in 1967 when the opportunity to buy land at low prices arrived due to the 1967 riots. Li believed that the crisis was just temporary and the prices of land would rise again. He bought land at extremely low prices and by 1971 he was running a successful real estate development company.

Today, he is considered one of the most powerful persons in Asia. In 2001, he was named ‘Asia’s Most Powerful Man’. In 2006, he achieved “Malcolm S. Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Forbes family. In spite of his success and wealth, he lives a pretty simple lifestyle. He wears an inexpensive Seiko watch and simple black dress shoes. Having donated over $1.4 billion till date to charities, he has become one of the most generous philanthropists in Asia.

Kelly Hoppen

Kelly Hoppen was born in July 1959 into an Irish-Jewish background. At the age of 16, she started her career when a family friend asked her to design their kitchen. From then, she has become a successful interior designer and author. She is also the proprietor of Kelly Hoppen Interiors.   She also appears on the Dragon’s Den reality show.

Some of the celebrities that Hoppen has designed for include Victoria and David Beckham and Martin Shaw. She has also designed homes, jets and yachts of private clients and she has also worked on commercial projects in various countries.

Hoppen has authored 8 books. The title of her recent book is Kelly Hoppen Design Masterclass – How to Achieve the Home of Your Dreams. The book was published in late 2013.

Taupe and beige are some of the colors she uses in her creation. She believes in sticking to neutral color palette. When asked about her designing philosophy, she made the following statement:

“My philosophy has always remained the same, it’s about creating calm balanced environments based on Eastern cultures, i.e. order and creation of harmony. How people feel in a space is as important as the way it looks, one can’t be without the other to succeed”.

Kelly has received many awards to date. Some of them include Andrew Martin Interior Design Award, European Woman of Achievement, Grazia Designer of the Year, EWAA Woman of Achievement and many more.

So far, she has published seven books which include “East Meets West”, In Touch”, Table Chic”, Kelly Hoppen, Home – From Concept To Reality”, Ideas”, Kelly Hoppen Style” and “Close Up”. Her books have been published in more than ten languages and they have sold over 100,000 copies on Amazon.

Kelly Hoppen is unstoppable in the world of design, having her own line of high street home furnishing call KHome. Also included in her range are paints, chinaware, carpet, art, furniture, fragrances, candles, bathroom accessories and fabrics. She has also created her own range of wallpaper in collaboration with Graham and Brown. Hoppen has an intrinsic eye for style which is not only limited to interior designing. In 2010, she launched Kelly Hoppen Home Fashion Collection.

She connects with the public directly on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. She writes her own blogs on her websites. She has recently launched her Ipad and Iphone application which includes 40 video tutorials on how to create chic kitchen features, sophisticated bedrooms and elegant table settings and also includes step by step design guides.
She is a dragon on the Dragon’s Den and in an episode she has claimed that she was bullied in school. She also claims that she had struggled during her early years because of dyslexia.

Steve Tisch

Steven Tisch was born on 14th February, 1949. His father, Bob Tisch was the co-owner of Giants. Steve is the Executive Vice President and chairman of the NFL team, New York Giants. This team is also co-owned by his family. He is an America businessman and a TV and film producer. Steve was born in New Jersey and went to Tufts University. It is from there when he started his filmmaking career.

Steve created several small films during his youth which were backed by Columbia Pictures. He created his first feature film in 1976 after he left Columbia. He named it “Outlaw Blues”. In 1983, he made “Risky Business” in which Tom Cruise was in the lead role.   In fact, it was Tom’s first lead role.

In 1984, he produced “The Burning Bed” which stirred controversy, but received eleven Emmy nominations. It was in 1986 when Steve started his own production company and named it “Steve Tisch Company” which specialises in small screen films. “Snatch”, “American History X” and “Forest Gump” are some of the critically acclaimed films that he has produced. For Forest Gump, he got the Best Motion Picture Academy Award as well as a Golden Globe Award. The film won 6 Academy Awards out of the 13 nominations it received. In 2007, he received an award for his exceptional work in the entertainment and media field from Tufts University.

Steve Tisch is also partner at Escape Artists Production. As the chairman of the Giants, he has won two Super Bowl rings. After the death of his father, Steve became the chairman of the Giants team and worked with John Mara on the construction of Metlife Stadium. In 2010, he joined his brother Jonathan and worked with Jets owner Woody Johnson and John Mara to bring Super Bowl XLVIII to Metlife Stadium.

Steve has also been a philanthropist and has donated generously to several organisations such as The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Women’s Cancer Research Foundation and The Epilepsy Foundation.   He is also on the Board of Advisors at the New York University’s Tisch School of Arts. Moreover, he is also on the Board of Trustees for The Sundance Institute, The Geffen Theatre in Los Angeles, The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Cancer Centre and the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art.

When Steve was asked whether he would give back one of his Giants’ titles or his Academy Awards, he maintained that he would give back the Oscar. As of March 2014, Steve has a net worth of $1.2 billion and has residences in Los Angeles and New York. He is the only person who holds a Super Bowl Ring and An Academy Award. Steve got married in 1996 to Jamie Leigh Anne Alexander, but they divorced later. They are parents to a boy and two girls.

Sean Combs

Born on the 4th of November, 1969, Sean Comb has worked with artists like Biggie Smalls, Mariah Carey and Mary. J. Blige. In 1993, he launched his first music production called Bad Boy Entertainment. After Biggie’s murder in 1997, Sean Combs recorded “I’ll Be Missing You” as a tribute which topped the billboard singles chart and launched his first album to platinum status.

Comb’s father was murdered in 1974 and he was raised by his model mother. He grew up in New York and studied in a Catholic boys school. When he was in high school, he was given the nickname “Puffy” because of his habit to puff out his chest. His other nicknames were “Diddy”, “P.Diddy” and “Puff Daddy”.

He attended Howard University and majored in business administration. While attending classes, he used to run an airport shuttle service and also produced weekly dance parties. Later, he dropped out so he could pursue an internship at Uptown Records and became a talent director. It didn’t take him long to attain the position of vice president. But in the 1990s, he left the company.

Bad Boy Entertainment was started in 1993 giving him chance to work with some of the established artists. He became very popular and was even named as ASCAP’s “Songwriter of the Year” in 1996. In 1997, he made a deal with Arista Records after he had made over $100 million in recordings. His album “No Way Out” was launched to platinum status after the murder of his friend Biggie Smalls.

His second album was released in 1999 and titled “Forever”. It was the same year he launched a clothing line in America and named it “Sean John”.

In late 1999, it was alleged that Sean Combs and singer and actress Jennifer Lopez who was his girlfriend at that time were involved in a New York shooting incident. The incident happened in a nightclub in which three people suffered injuries. Combs was charged with a single count of bribery and four counts of illegal possession of weapons. His trial began in January 2001 and in March, he and his bodyguard were cleared of all charges.

It was Comb’s protégé who was found guilty of firing inside the nightclub in which three people were hurt. Although he was cleared of the charges of attempted murder, he was found guilty of criminal weapon possession, reckless endangerment and assault.

In 2002, he released “We Invented The Remix and Bad Boy’s 10th Anniversary… The Hits” was released two years later.

In 2002, he was ranked 12th on Fortune Magazine’s “Top 40 Entrepreneurs under 40”. According to Forbes magazine, his earnings for 2012 were estimated at $45 million which ranked him 15th against musicians. His estimated net worth in 2013 was $580 million.

Jamie Oliver

James Trevor Oliver was born on 27 March 1975 in Essex, England. He is a celebrity chef, media personality and restaurateur. He is well known for his cookbooks and television shows. Recently, he made headlines when he campaigned against the use of processed food items in national schools. Jamie has been nicknamed the Naked Chef. Italian cuisine is his specialty although he is famous for other cuisines as well.

By the time Jamie was 31 years old, he had already sold over millions of copies of cookbooks. He had conquered the US market, appeared in a number of television shows, revolutionised school dinners in the United Kingdom and opened a restaurant. Jamie makes cooking cool and being the energetic man he is, his cookbooks are bestsellers around the world. His cooking shows are broadcast in more than 50 countries and he has also been titled the sexiest chef on TV. Some of Jamie’s diners include Prince Charles and British PM Tony Blair.

Jamie’s parents had a restaurant and this is from where his fascination for food comes.   After Jamie left school, he went to attend Westminster Catering College and to further his skills he travelled to France as well. When he returned to the UK, he got the job as a head pastry chef at The Neal Street Restaurant. He then worked at the River Café for three and a half years. Here, he received guidance from Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray which helped him fine-tune his skills.

Because he was a cheeky young chef, he was noticed by a number of production companies when he appeared in the background of a documentary. When the programme was broadcast, he received calls from different production companies who wanted to work with him. It was not late when he became a celebrity chef and revolutionised television cookery shows with his programme “The Naked Chef”.

Jamie is a down to earth person and this is the reason he has been able to win legions of fans. He has fans all over the world. Jamie is a chef who likes to take risks. Lately, he has set up Fifteen Foundation which is a charity organisation responsible for training unemployed young people to become professional chefs. He has put in millions of pounds to make this a success. A book as well as a TV series followed and these were huge successes too.

He has also been successful in convincing children to give up fast food which is not good for health. He has taken on the government and improved school meals to include healthy foods instead of processed meals. His mission was a success and steps were taken to improve the variety and quality of food offered in school.

David Chilton

David Chilton was born in October, 1961.  He is a television personality, an investor and an author.  As of March, 2014, he has a net worth of $20 million.

His bestselling finance book named “the Wealthy Barber” has sold more than 3 million copies.  He has also compiled a series of low fat cook books which have also become bestsellers.  Today, he lives in Kitchener, Ontario.  He runs a publishing company and a financial planning business.  David has attained a degree in Economics from Wilfred Laurier University.

In March, 2012, it was announced on CBC Television that Chilton had become the newest dragon on the Dragons Den which is a hit reality television program.  He replaced Robert Herjavec in Season 7 and the show was telecast in September, 2012.   During his introduction on the show, he was heard saying that he currently lives outside Waterloo.

The Wealthy Barber was published in 1989.  It is seminal book about money and focuses on three people who are in their 20s.  These three people visit Roy who is a barber to get lessons on financial planning.  When the book was released, it sold over 2 million copies and this made it one of the bestsellers in Canada.  After more than 20 years later, David Chilton published “The Wealthy Barber Returns” which is a follow-up to his 1989 publication.

During an interview, Chilton has revealed a lot of things about his books and why he chose such as approach.  Chilton was 25 years old when he started writing and at the age of 27, he published his first book.   He feels he was really lucky.  At that time, the economy was such that people could not only rely on guaranteed investment certificates, but had to look for other ways of investment and for that they needed some knowledge.   Because there was no knowledge, there was also no competition.  When the book was published, there were only two other personal finance books relevant to the Canadian finance market.  Today, there are hundreds.

When asked about why he chose to approach the book in that manner, Chilton went on to say that when he was a stockbroker there were few personal finance books in the USA that he liked.  They were written extremely well and they were understandable.   He got copies of the books and gave them to his clients but they didn’t like the books.  His clients found the books intimidating and boring.  When he started writing his first book, he called it The Wealthy Bartender and set it in a bar.  But alcohol got in the way and after writing few chapters, he put it in a barber shop.  This was the right decision he made as a barber shop was something people could visualise.

For the past two decades, Chilton has been has been involved in public speaking.  When asked if he would continue writing, he said it takes a lot of time and effort and it is unlikely he will write again.

Darryn Lyons

Darryn Lyons was born on 19th August 1965.  He is a former paparazzo and an Australian politician.  He is also an entrepreneur and media personality.  In November, 2013, he became the 95th mayor of Geelong.  He is famously known in the UK for his media work.

Darryn was the youngest of his siblings and was born in Melbourne Australia.  The home they lived in was designed by their father who was an architect.  Darryn had a love for photography from a young age.  He went to Geelong Tech Secondary School and was often the dux of the school.  Following his graduation, he worked at the Geelong News as a professional photographer.  When he was 22 years old, he went to London and started working at the News of the World.  Two years later, he quit his job and took up a position at the Daily Mail, where he provided news of the Bosnian War.

His company “Big Pictures” was founded in 1993 which supplied paparazzi-style photographs to news organisations.   The company was being run by Kevin Anstey and Melanie Lyons for three years while Lyon focused on his work at the Daily Mail.  In 1996, he quit again and started working at Big Pictures full time with Melanie Lyons.  He garnered huge media attention when he sold a photograph to a news agency supporting the claim that David Beckham was in a relationship with Rebecca Loos who was his personal assistant at that time.

Lyons appears on television and radio programs often and he is also a weekly commentator on Alan Titchmarsh Show, LK Today and Sky News Sunrise Program.  He also commentates for Australian radio shows Hughsey and Kate Show and Kyle and Jackie O Show.  He has written columns for NW magazine and the Geelong Advertiser newspaper.   In 2005, he appeared in reality television show Dragon’s Den as a business expert.  In addition, he appeared in Mr Paparazzi Show which was produced by Big Pictures Production with each episode lasting for about 5 minutes.  The episodes can be viewed on the Mr Paparazzi website.

In 2007, he made an appearance on the reality TV show “Deadline”.  In the same year, he also appeared on the British TV show “Through The Keyhole”, “Tycoon” and “Top Gear”.  In 2011, he entered the UK version of “Celebrity Big Brother 8” and finished in 6th place.  He also entered another reality show as a contestant in 2012.  Other celebrities on the same show “Excess Baggage Australia” included actor Gabby Millgate and singer Christine Anu.  The show was although a failure and many people believed that it failed because of its contestants as they were not famous enough.

Today, Lyons lives in Geelong.  He divorced his first wife in 2000 and is currently in a relationship with Elissa Friday, who is a student and a former model.

Bruce Croxon

Bruce Croxon is not as popular as some of the other dragons on Dragon’s Den as he had always maintained a very low media profile.  Prior to the show, he was known only in the digital world as one of the early pioneers of the internet.

Croxon had a very interesting childhood.  His father was a white from England and his mother was a black woman from Jamaica.  During those times, mixed-marriages were uncommon.

Croxon began his career in British Columbia as a tree planter.  It was through this job that he learned the importance of the environment and nature.  Although he was being paid 2 cents per tree at that time, he kept his focus on eco-friendly projects.

Bruce CroxonIn 1979, he earned his graduation from Ridley College.  From there, he went to the University of Western Ontario and pursued a BA.  If you are a follower of Bruce Croxon, you will often notice his tweets emphasizing on the importance of education.  He supports education strongly and often tells kids through his tweets to “Stay In School”.

It was not until 1988 when he began to see success.  He was the one who came up with the idea of digital dating.  He was ahead of the pack when the online dating market exploded in popularity about ten years later.  He was the co-founder of Lavalife, an online dating website.  Very soon, the brand became a household name and it had over 2 million members.  The website started generating revenue in the form of membership fees.

After the success of his online dating business, he decided to sell his company for $180 million.  Since he wanted to start something new, he started his own spa.  He named his business Vita which soon became a chain of holistic spas in the west of Canada.  He also founded Round 13 Capital which is a relationship-based capital venture firm focused on investing on entertainment, communication and information opportunities.  Their experience and money is partnered with entrepreneurs who are focused on producing goods and services that offer value to businesses and consumers and while they achieve this, they generate returns through investments.

But, his appearance on the Dragon’s Show gave him more exposure and it was through the show, he was able to expand his portfolio.  When Bruce is not busy helping other entrepreneurs with their startups or operating one of his businesses, he spends his time playing golf or kayaking.  He is also an avid surfer and loves skiing and biking.  Currently, he lives in Toronto.  He has a wife and two kids.  He also has fondness for warm weather, spicy food and reggae music.

His interest in technology and wellness is quite strong till date and some of his current business ventures include Walkaway Canada, Sprigg Software and  He is also board member of and Trans Canada.

Bobby Kerr

Bobby was born in 1960 in Ireland.  He was brought up in Kilkenny where he had his family business.  Currently, he lives in Sandycove with his wife and four daughters.

He is the chairman of Insomnia and is a famous entrepreneur in his country.  He has many business interests including restaurants, hotels and food sectors.  Bobby got into business from a young age.   When he was young, he used to help his father with his 4 star hotel in Kilkenny.  When he was 16, he started learning to cook at the hotel kitchen. For two summers, he sweated in the kitchen and learnt some of the favourite dishes that he cooks even today.

After he graduated from catering management, he started his first job at AIB catering which was in Ballsbridge.  It was not long before he started travelling the world, working on oil rigs as a chef.  He then went to Canada and gained experience in stadium catering.  In 1985, he organised for the catering of about one million people when the Pope visited Canada.

During the mid-1980s, he went back to Ireland and worked at Campbell Catering and then at Bewley’s Oriental Cafes.  He became the Managing Director of Bewley’s Bakery, Bewley’s Franchising and Bewley’s Oriental Café and his responsibility included overseeing the development of the brand in overseas market such as in Japan, USA and UK.   It was in 1999 when he opened PERK coffee shops in Dublin which was later sold to Insomnia.  All the proceeds of the coffee shop sale were reinvested into Insomnia and Bobby became the CEO and shareholder of the company.  From 2004, the business has expanded from 17 shops to 70 shops.  The turnover has increased from 5 million euros to 21 million euros.  In 2010, he stepped down from the position of CEO and became the chairman of Insomnia so he could concentrate of his portfolio of business.

Bobby Kerr EntrepreneurIn 2008, he became a dragon on the popular television show Dragon’s Den and over the first few series he already made about ten investments.   Two years later, he along with his two partners purchased Bang Restaurant.

Aside from being a successful entrepreneur, he is also a public speaker.  He is widely known for his upfront and witty speaking style.  In 2011, Bobby was involved in charity work in Zambia where he built a house for AIDS orphans.

He is also involved in fund raising for a number of charity organisations such as Fairtrade and The Special Olympics.  He also does fund raisings for Blackrock Hospice.  Within the last three years, he has raised more than 75,000 pounds for hospice.  In addition, he has raised more than 40,000 euros for the Habitat of Humanity.

Barbara Ann Corcoran

Barbara Ann Corcoran was born on 10th March, 1949 in New Jersey.  She is an investor, a speaker, syndicated columnist, consultant, television personality, author and a successful businesswoman.  She is a “Shark” on the popular television show Shark Tank on ABC.

Barbara attended St. Thomas Aquinas College and in 1971, she graduated with a degree in education.  She worked as a teacher for one year and then took up other jobs in New York City.  She had always wanted to be her own boss.

Barbara was not an intelligent student in school.  She used to earn D’s in high school and college.  By the time she was 23, she had changed twenty jobs.  But, it was her next job that made her a successful entrepreneur in the country.  With a $1000 loan from her rich boyfriend, she started “The Corcoran Group”.

Barbara Ann CorcoranIn 1973, she co-founded “The Corcoran Group” which was a real estate business.  By the mid-1970s, she had also started publishing “The Corcoran Report”.

In 2001, she received a whopping $66 million after NRT Incorporated bought her business. It was the same business that she had co-founded with that $1000 loan she took from her boyfriend and turned it into an empire worth $66 million. Following this sale, she had become a prominent personality in the real estate sector in New York.  After becoming a “Shark” investor, she has invested in a number of businesses till date.

Being a columnist, she writes for “Redbook” The Daily Review” and “More Magazine”.  She has authored several books and has appeared in a number of television shows.  She has also spoken as a guest business speaker at a number of real estate events.  Her latest book “Shark Tales” tells her life story and how she became successful.  As an individual, Barbara is bold, brash and blunt, courageous and an identifier of talent and opportunity.

When asked about her rags to riches story, she said that in order to achieve success, you should learn how to fail well.  Her success story is highly motivational and entertaining.   She is an expert in leading a team to success having led 1000 plus brokers in her company which is the largest real estate company in New York.  She knows what it takes to develop a winning team and create a thriving workplace.  In her books, she has shared her winning strategies.

Barbara Corcoran is known to have built the most successful and largest real estate business in New York.  She has revealed how she has actually done it.  From creating a bigger image than it is in reality to using the press to achieve free publicity, she has shared everything that one needs to become a leader in their field.