Ashok Sekhar Ganguly

Ashok Sekhar Ganguly is the former chairman of Hindustan Lever.  He is an industry expert and a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha. Ashok Sekhar Ganguly was born in Patna, India on 28 July, 1935.  He went to Master Tutorial High School in Mumbai and did his BSc from the Jaihind College in Mumbai. After completing his M.S in 1959, he pursued a Ph.D from the University of Illinois. .

He spent more than 35 years with Unilever PLC. From 1980 to 1990, he was the chairman of the company and from 1990 to 1997, he served as a member of the board. In fact, he has served as a board member in various other multinationals including ICI India, Wipro, British Airways, Hindustan Lever, Tata AIG Life Insurance Co. Firstsource Solutions and Hemogenomics.

Ashok Sekhar Entreprneur ProfileHe was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan which is the second highest civilian award in the country for his contribution to public service. He married Rooma Ganguly after he became successful.

In November, 2009, he took oath as a Nominated member of the Rajya Sabha. Being a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry, he will serve a 6 year term.

After he took the oath, he shook hands with the leaders of the different political parties as well as the Chairman, Hamid Ansari.   Since November 2002, he has been a director of the Central Board of Reserve Bank in India.  Other organizations and committees that he is member of include India-USE CEO Committee and the Investment Commission.

Ashok Sekhar Ganguly had always been a true Hindustan Unilever man. This was proven in his speech when he accepted ET’s Lifetime Achievement Award.   While winners usually thank their staff in general, Dr. Ganguly was very specific.  He said that his achievement was due to the efforts of everyone associated with HLL. He also didn’t forget to mention the hard work of the salesmen who toil night and day in the marketplace. It has been ten years, Dr. Ganguly has been head of the FMCG Company and he believes that the success of the company lies in its outstanding sales and distribution efforts.

Arlene Dickinson

Arlene Dickinson is one of the most renowned independent entrepreneurs in Canada.  She is the CEO of Venture Communications and  Her success lies in her creative and strategic approach.  She is a dragon on the popular television show Dragons Den.  She is also the author of two books which are both bestsellers.  Her first book was named “Persuasion and the most recent one is “All In”.

Over the years, she has received numerous awards and honours.  Her leadership and success has been recognised with awards such as “The Pinnacle Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence, PROFIT, Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 as well as Chatelaine’s Top 100 Women Business Owners.  As a generous philanthropist, she has supported many causes and since 2010, she is also the national spokesperson for “The Breakfast Clubs of Canada”.

Dickinson was born on 8th October, 1956 in South Africa.  She moved to Canada at a young age with her family.  Her father was also an entrepreneur and a teacher.   According to Dickinson, it is the values that her father instilled in her which helps her shape her decisions.   Out of everything that her father told her, one of the most important that she finds is “You have to take care of yourself, because society does not owe you anything”.

Some people today consideArlene Dickinson Entrepreneurr her success a miracle.  This is because when she was nineteen, she got married and in the next eight years, she had four children.  It was during the same time when she had to work so she could pay her husband’s university fees.  She wanted her husband to attain a teaching degree.   It was quite unfortunate that by the time she was 31, she marriage ended in divorce.  As a result of the divorce, she was kicked out of the Mormon Church and she also lost custody of her children.   According to the judge, Dickinson did not have enough resources to support her children and therefore she couldn’t be granted custody of her children.  Despite the major setback, she was determined to achieve something in life.

Dickinson worked as a debt collector and also struggled to pay her bills.  When she would be busy making calls to delinquent borrowers in the day, debt collectors would be leaving similar messages on her answering machine.  Later, she managed to get a position in Venture Communications and it was in 1998 when she took over the company.

She is being recognised as a successful entrepreneur in Canada.  Over the years, she has offered marketing services to numerous companies including LCBO, Subway, Travel Alberta, Toyota and many others.  Today, she manages Venture Communications and a number of other side projects. She also takes time out for her children and grandchildren.

Annette Presley

Born in 1964 in New Zealand, Annette Presley is a communications entrepreneur who co-founded Slingshot which is one of the largest internet service providers in the country.  When little girls dream of becoming actresses and princesses, Presley dreamed of being her own boss.  She knew what she wanted from a very young age and that’s what she has achieved.

Presley attended McAuley High School and in the 1970s, she attended Auckland Training Institute.  She is described as the most successful dropout by one of her tutors.  Before she switched to computer programming, she pursued a career in accounting.  She then went on to sell computers and then started an IT recruitment company in 1988.

It was during the 1990s when she met her future husband at a golf function.  In 1992, she moved to Australia with Malcolm Dick and founded Call Australia.  Today, the company employs over 200 people and has grown into a $100 million business.   In 1996, the couple returned to New Zealand after selling the company and in the same year, they launched CallPlus and i4free which in 2001 became Slingshot.  Presley and her partner had 45% stake each in Call Plus and the other 10% was owned by chief executive Martin Wyle.   While her partner managed the technical side, Presley represented the company publicly and in media and also appeared in advertisements.

The followAnnette Presleying year,i 4free sued Telecom New Zealand.  The company was sued for over $18 million.  The Wellington High Court heard that Telecom’s decision to force users to dial a prefix had limited the growth of i4free severely and it also delayed the launch of their services by 9 months.   The matter was settled out of court after a long battle.    In 2006, the pair separated and in September in the same year, it was announced that she was no longer the director of CallPlus.  Presley was unaware of this announcement as she was holidaying in Fiji at that time.  The couple had two children and when they separated, they were believed to have a combined net worth of $70 million.

Being a Dragon on the NZ version of the popular television series, Dragon’s Den, Presley has made several investments and she has also been criticised by one of her co-dragons.  She is also the supporter of several charity organisations including Kidz First Children’s Hospital, Dress for Success and Preventing Violence in the Home.

Today, Presley is still involved in her business, but her first priority is her children.  She wants to be more involved in starting camps for the underprivileged children in the south Auckland area.  Despite her money, fame and success, she knows where she is from and she wants to make a difference in that area by helping children who don’t have the resources and opportunities believe in themselves and look at life differently.

Annemarie van Gaal

Annemarie Van Gaal was born on 9th October, 1962 in Netherlands.  She is the Founder of the Independent Media Group, CEO of AM Media publishing company and an Investor.  Annemarie began her publishing career in 1985.  She held the position of executive assistant to one of VNU’s managing directors in Netherlands.  About five years later, she got promotion and became the project manager of a subsidiary of VNU.

In 1989, Gorbachov came to power in the Soviet Union.  His political ideas triggered western companies to form a joint venture in Russia.  A Russian-Dutch joint venture was formed by VNU in 1989.  This was called the “Moscow Illustrated Press” and it published two magazines which included The Moscow Guardian and Moscow Magazine.

In 1990, VNU sent Annemarie to manage their joint venture but due to the cultural differences between Dutch and Russians, it was not possible to keep the venture going.  Therefore, VNU chose to freeze all activities in Russia in 1991.  In 1992, Annemarie quit VNU and started her own company in Moscow.

In 1992, she founded ‘Independent Media’ which grew rapidly because of its unconventional approach.  From 15 employees and turnover of $1.5 million in 1992, the company grew to 700 employees and turnover of $80 million in 1998.   Over the years, “Independent Media” has received many awards and prizes and since 1998, it has been a leading publishing company in Ukraine and Russia in various fields including newspapers, trade publications and consumer magazines.  They are the publishers of 39 consumer magazines including the Russian editions of Men’s Health, Harper’s Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan.

Annemarie van Gaal EntrepreneurIn 2000, Annemarie had to leave Russia because she wanted her sons to be schooled in a Dutch institution.  In the same year, she became the General Director of Telegraaf Magazine Group in the Netherlands.  Her role was to oversee the magazine activities and its international expansion.  She also launched several magazines for the company, defined strategic plans, acquired the important licenses and ceased publication of those magazines which were non-profitable.

In 2001, she stepped down from her position of general manager due the conflict between the Independent Media shareholders.  She remained advisor and on the supervisory board for both the magazine groups.   Whenever new clients are in the process of purchasing media companies, she helps them with the process.  Being an industry expert, she has in depth understanding and knowledge of how media houses work and how investments in media companies should be made.

AM media was launched in 2003.  Apart from founding her own publishing house, Annemarie also manages and owns a real estate company and a publishing house.  She also acts as a private equity investor in many foreign countries as well as in the Netherlands.

Alexender Amosu

Alexender Amosu grew up in a council estate in north London. From a very young age, he had known that in order to get what you want, there are two ways.  You either pay for it or you steal it.   Amosu chose the first way.  His first job was delivering papers for which he used to get £10 per week. He had enough to buy himself a pair of Nike trainers in few weeks.   It was then that he realised that he didn’t want to be poor.  From organising parties to providing cleaning services, he tried all the small businesses he could.  It was not until 2000 when an idea changed his life and he quit his computer engineering degree.

Amosu was playing around on his new Nokia 3210 when he composed a ringtone and sent it to his brother. This ringtone was based on the Big Pimpin’ tune by rapper Jay Z.  When his brother’s classmates heard the ringtone, they were impressed and it became a big hit among the friends. The next evening, 21 of his brother’s friends came to his place asking for the ringtone.   The idea that came to his mind was “if you want it, you have to pay £1 each.”  That night he sat with £21 and thought what would happen if he made a hundred or two hundred ringtones.

There were just two other companies who made ringtones at that time and they both focused on pop-music.  According to him, none of the companies did R&B and hip hop and he just had to bring those ringtones to the world.  His father was not pleased with his decision.  He thought Amosu was throwing his life away.  But Amosu knew there was potential.  On his first day, he made £6 and his business grew from there.   In just four months, he had enough money to rent an office in Islington at £2000 per month.  He started out with 21 staff.  Some were taking calls while others were making ringtones.   He knew there were young guys like him who were making ringtones so he put advertisements for designers up in colleges and hired at £5 per hour.  He named his firm R&B ringtones and soon its advertisements were on TV and newspapers.

By the time the year ended, he had made over £1.6 million.  Within the next three years, he had made another £6.3 million.  When he saw that everyone had gotten in the business of making ringtones, he sold his business for £9 million in 2004.  He got married and moved to Edmonton with his wife and two kids to start his next venture which was designing mobile phones for the rich.

Today, Amosu is an entrepreneur. He creates customised phones in white gold and gold, encrusted with precious materials such as diamonds and gemstones.  His phones are sold to the wealthy clients around the world.

Piers Linney

Piers Linney was born in February 1971.  His father was English and his mother was from Saint Phillip in Barbados.  Linney started his first job when he was 14 years old.  He worked as a paperboy for various newsagents.  Later on he started to buy and sell newspapers directly from the suppliers.

Today, Piers Linney is a successful British businessman and the co-CEO of IT business Outsoucery.  He also appears as a dragon on the popular television serious Dragon’s Den on BBC.  In 2011, he appeared in the series “The Secret Millionaire” where he worked at a Young Offenders’ institution.

Piers is married to Tara and they have two children, Electra and Tiger.

Piers has English and Barbadian heritage and he grew up in a small town in Lancashire.  After he failed in his 11+ he studied in his local comprehensive school.  At the age of thirteen, he had thought of becoming his own boss.  After delivering newspapers from home to home, he started selling household products.  He dreamed of success from a young age and while he wanted to get into business, he also wanted to further his education.  He had thought of a career in law and finance.

He studied Accounting and Law and in 1997, he became a qualified solicitor.  This gave him the opportunity to work with SJ Berwin.  At this renowned city law firm, Piers specialized in corporate finance and venture capital.  But be also remained involved in various entrepreneurial ventures in film, media and business services.  He became an investment banker following his qualification and worked at Barclays de Zoete Wedd and Credit Suisse.  His experience and skills attained by working in London opened doors to more opportunities and successes.

Piers had accumulated a thorough knowledge and understanding of venture capital law, corporate finance and corporate law.  When he realised that he cannot fulfil his career desires in the City, he left the City and started his own internet enterprise. Since then, he has been involved in various businesses and sectors through direct investments as well as funds from research.

Piers LinneyPiers led the buyout of a mobile voice & data reseller company “Genesis Communication” in 2007.  Before the company was resold in 2011, it became a sector leader generating revenues of £45 million.  Piers is also a founding member of UK’s Cloud Industry Forum

His success lies in the fact that he is a success-driven man.  He is goal-oriented and with his skills, talent and knowledge of both financial and technical aspects of a businesses, he is able to implement new ideas and attain success.  He is passionate about helping people who are looking to achieve success.  He enjoys sharing his experience and knowledge with the rest of the world.

Greg Selkoe

In the world of entrepreneurs, and self-made millionaires there are many different ways that people make their riches. It can come from companies, investments, and real estate or in the case of Greg Selkoe, Websites. Yes, Selkoe was born into a rich family. His father was renowned Alzheimer’s researcher Dennis J. Selkoe. But the millions that he has made, the success he has had with Karmaloop, was all his doing, he built the company from the bottom up, with no help from his parents money.

Selkoe got into a little trouble as a teenager and went to reform school. He soon turned his life around and graduated from Rollins College in Florida.  He got a job as an urban planner. This position would help him a lot when he started his Website Karmaloop. After he met his wife, and while they were still living with his parents, he decided to quit his job as an urban planner and went to Harvard to get a masters degree in public policy. At the same time Selkoe and his wife decided to pursue their dream of opening a store, selling street-wear.

Greg SelkoeThey started by selling a limited inventory, but they focused on well-known brands. They started the Website, an online magazine where people could order all of the street-wear. And they got major players like Reebok and Adidas to sign with them by promising them that though they may not be their biggest customers, they would represent them better then anyone else. And a lot of major companies bought it and Karmaloop soon took off like lightening. Street-wear is very popular. It is utilitarian clothing that’s artfully flashy and moderately expensive. Because of its style and high price, it’s considered high fashion.

The Website slowly took hold and soon it was making a lot of money. Most of their customers are in between the ages of 18 to 25 but that does not mean that they do not get people from all ages buying their products. Selkoe and his wife both, who are in their thirties wear a lot of street-wear, as a lot of their friends do. They have stars like Own Wilson and Robin Williams who buy from them on a regular business.

They now have a store on Newbury Street but they still get 95% of their business through their Website. The Website has come a long way since the Selkoes sold clothes out of his parent’s bedroom. It is now a global website. With about two and a half million website visitors each month, with projected sales of around forty million dollars a year. And Selkoe has new ventures beginning as often as he can, like KarmaloopTV and Junglelife.Com. This self-made millionaire has only began to sink his teeth into the millionaire’s life.

Glenn Dubin

Do you ever wonder how one becomes a billionaire? Especially someone who was not born into money? He made the billions all on his own or with a partner or two. Well, Glenn Dubin is one of those billionaires. He was not born rich. Nothing was handed to him.

He was born in 1957 in New York, New York. His father was a cab driver. Though they were not dirt poor, they were a long way from being rich.  He met his future business partner, at a very young age. In fact they were in kindergarten. They became best friends from day one and still are to this day. He went to Kennedy high school. Then him and his friend both went to SUNY Stony brook. After college they both ended up at the same firm. E.F Hutton.

They talked their boss into permitting them to create their own firm. This started their career, which would lead them to billions. The firm was one that would allow them to make investments on the behalf of their clients. After this they followed up with a fund for funds. Which would provide seed capitol for people like Paul Tudor Jones.  They had great success. They had a 65% return in 1987 and by 1992, they went out on their own with a 32 million capitol. They called the company Highbridge Capitol Management.

They continued to rake in the money over the years. In 2004, they sold a piece to J.P. Morgan Chase for 1.3 billion. But they continued to have a hand in the company. They now have roughly 21 billion under management. Dubin alone is worth 1.3 billion dollars, making him one of the richest people in the world.

He has several causes that he personally funds, one being the Robin Hood Foundation with Paul Tudor. Recipients of the group’s funds have to meet certain financial and operating benchmarks to continue receiving funding. He also sits on the board of Mount Sinai, for breast cancer. He was on the board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, but as since stepped down. And his wife took his seat for him. He and Paul Tudor not only sit on the board together. They also are tennis partners. Tudor is worth twice as much as him, but they laugh about the fact that he can beat him on the courts.

A little personal information about him is that he has been married twice. His wife now is a former Miss Sweden and is a practicing doctor. They have three children together. He paid thirty million dollars for Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s old apartment. They also have a weekend house in North Salem that they spend a lot of time at as a family. So this billionaire definitely leads the good life. But why shouldn’t he. He earned every cent of the 1.3 billion he has.

Sir Philip Green

Sir Philip Green is behind some of the biggest names on the high streets of Great Britain.  His retail empire includes some of the top brands including Topman, Topshop, Miss Selfridge, British Home Stores and Dorothy Perkins.

In 1998, heSir Phillip Green became CEO and Chairman of Amber Day which is a discount retailer.  Initially, the shares brought in profit, but later suffered profit downgrades.  The company could not survive and Green resigned.  Instead he started working with entrepreneurs such as Tom Hunter and Barclay Brothers.  In 1995, he partnered with Tom Hunters again and bought sports retailer Olympus.  He sold the company for £550 million three years later which made him £73 million richer.

Sir Philip Green is actually a high-school dropout.  When he was 27 years old, he bought his first store in London where he sold designer brands at discounted prices.  In 2000, Greens bought British Home Stores and two years later, he spent a whopping $1.2 billion to purchase retail group Arcadia.  Some of the top brands including Burton, Miss Selfridge, Topman, Dorothy Perkins and Topshop are owned by Arcadia.  In 2012, 25% of his Topshop empire was sold to Leonard Green & Partners.  Having sold the shares for $763, the value of his fashion chain increased to $3 billion.

He bought Owen Owen in the 1990s which had twelve branches at that time.  By 2004, all of the stores were either sold off or closed. In late 2013, he announced that he would be opening convenience food outlets.  Actually he had challenged Marks and Spencer after his takeover bid was rejected in 2005.

Green is known for his lavish parties.  He flies from Monaco to London in his private jet.  In 2005, he paid Beyonce and Andrea Bocelli to perform at his son’s 3-day bar mitzvah celebration.

Today he lives and works in the UK and pays tax on his salary.  Sir Phillip Green does not own any of his businesses of the Arcadia Group.  All his businesses are in the name of his wife who lives in Manaco and pays not even a penny of income tax.

In 2005, Sir Philip Green awarded himself a paycheck of £1.2 billion which is the biggest paycheck in the history of British corporate world.  Because the funds were transferred to Green’s wife’s account in Monaco through a network of various offshore accounts, Green did not have to pay a penny in tax, but this dodge cost the tax payer close to £285 million.  This tax dodge could have paid the salaries of more than 20,000 NHS nurses and fees for over 32,000 students.

It is also worth noting that his £5 billion fortune has been built on the back of hardworking labour.  He has used sweatshops in Mauritius where Indian, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankans work day and night for minimal pay.

Levi Roots

Levi Roots is a entrepreneur and musician. He has performed with popular artists including Maxi Priest and James Brown.  He was also nominated for a MOBO award in 1998 for a Best Reggae Act.  In 1992, he had performed for Nelson Mandela on “Happy Birthday Mr. President”.  He was also a friend of Bob Marley.

He spent most of his early years in Britain.  He even spent 6 months in prison when his club was raided and he was charged with assaulting an officer. He was again arrested in 1986 for possession of drugs.

He gained fame only after appearing in the popular show Dragon’s Den where he gained a whopping £50,000 which he used to fund his Reggae Raggae Sauce.

Reggae Raggae Sauce is a bbq sauce which has been available for sale from 2006.  It sold over 4000 bottles at the Notting Hill Carnival.  When he took his sauce to promote at a food trade show, a BBC producer approached him and offered to appear on the Dragon’s Den.  He gained £50,000 in investment for a 40% stake in his business.  Soon after his appearance on the show, it was announced by Sainsbury that they would stock the sauce in their 600 stores.

After his success, he released another version of his “Reggae Reggae Sauce” which was basically an extension of the original song.

In 1998, he published his cookbook which includes his personal life stories and an introduction to some of the Caribbean ingredients he uses in his creations.  In June 2008, he appeared as a celebrity on BBC’s Ready Steady Cook.  He also hosts a television cooking show on BBC2 named Caribbean Food Made Easy.

Levi RootsIn 2007, after he sold out his jerk chicken stand, he took his secret recipes to the television show Dragon’s Den.  When he reached there, he waited with a man called John.  This man had invented a horsewhip that had a wing mirror and there was another guy who had invented clothes dryers which also worked in the rain.   To start his business, Roots wanted an investment of £50,000 and when he was called he remembers climbing the stairs with just £20 in his pocket.  To him it felt like as if he was being introduced onstage.   He had his guitar slung on his shoulder and he went up singing his Reggae Reggae Sauce song.   When he stood there in front of potential investors to gain the investment he needed, he continued his gentle little song and got the dragons entertained.

After tasting his secret recipe, Richard Farleigh and Peter Jones bought 40% of his business.  It was unbelievable for Roots and within just weeks, his sauce had made its way to the shelves of Sainsbury becoming their fastest selling product.  In the first year, it even outsold Heinz tomato sauce.